Federated States of Micronesia Begins Formal Withdrawal from Pacific Islands Forum

The President of the Federated States of Micronesia, David Panuelo has sent a formal notice to the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat denouncing the Agreement Establishing the Pacific Islands Forum, beginning the year long period until the FSM will no longer be a member of the forum.

This follows a Biweekly Micronesian Presidents Summit Meeting where Micronesian nations discussed the manner in which their withdrawal will be made. They discussed withdrawing at the same time, but decided it was better to let each nation follow its internal processes and withdraw in sequence.

In a letter to the Speaker of the 21st FSM Congress on the 15th of February. President Panuelo indicated that Palau had already made its formal withdrawal and sought the support of the Congress in sending the Denunciation of the Agreement Establishing the Pacific Islands Forum, in accordance with Section 8 Article XI, beginning the one year period of withdrawal.

According to a press release there was discussions about whether leaving the Forum would impact funding from foreign donors, including a report from one President of “what amounted to a threat from one external partner that leaving the PIF would mean a loss of funding in a particular category”.

It was also reported that during the Micronesian Presidents Summit meeting the Chair of the Forum Kausea Natano, Prime Minister of Tuvalu, joined in to give the Forum’s thoughts on the Micronesian withdrawal and noted that the Forum was reviewing the selection process for the appointment of a Secretary General, and invited the MPS countries to play an active role in those discussions.

“It would take a very monumental reform of the [PIF], in my humble opinion, for us to be able to come back to the table to discuss future options,” President Panuelo said to Chairman Natano. “As sovereign nations, we will continue to work with you closely on issues like Climate Change and illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing…. But, as I was telling my fellow Presidents moments ago, I have [made the decision] for our denunciation to be sent, and it will be sent later today.”

Image credit: Federated States of Micronesia Information Services press release

Correction: Pasifika Wire previously reported that the process for withdrawal from the Forum was under Article XII, not Article XI as it should be.