Still work to do as Kiribati rejoins Forum - Academic

The Micronesian country's shock withdrawal in July last year rocked the foundations of Pacific regionalism and raised questions about the power dynamics and politics within the Pacific Islands Forum.

In a statement on Monday, the Kiribati government confirmed the nation would be returning to the fold.

Fiji PM says Kiribati set to rejoin Pacific Islands Forum

Forum Chair, the Fiji Prime Minister Sitiveni Rabuka, said his office has received a letter confirming this intention from the Kiribati President, Taneti Maamau.

Rabuka visited Kiribati just over a week ago, on his first official overseas visit since taking office.

At the time he said bringing Kiribati back into the Forum was the visit's overall objective.

Fiji leader feels he has repaired Pacific-Kiribati relations

On Friday, Rabuka led a high-level delegation to Tarawa - and key on the agenda was Kiribati's membership of the Pacific Islands Forum.

Kiribati's withdrawal from the Forum last July fractured regional unity and solidarity.

President Taneti Maamau refused to attend the annual Leaders' gathering in Suva due to what he claimed was failure by the PIF to address concerns of equity, equality and inclusiveness in a number of key decisions including the appointment of the current Secretary General.

Rabuka's first trip overseas to be to Kiribati

The Kiribati government has confirmed that Rabuka will lead a delegation to the Micronesian nation on Friday.

It said the request for the visit was made by the Fiji government as part of its official engagements overseas.

Kiribati residents have been urged to "clean their villages" to keep the capital Tarawa "beautiful and clean" before the Fiji delegation visits.


NZ Immigration improves visa conditions for Pacific Island Forum Countries

“Previously, visa conditions were granted specific to the individual’s circumstances for travel, and therefore varied. Following requests from Pacific nations we recognise the need to consider consistent visa conditions for frequent travellers.

The changes for officials and diplomats recognise the need to provide greater consistency to our Pacific Island Forum Country and Kiribati counterparts with visa validity conditions and assurance of our commitment to an efficient process,” says Minister Woods.

Kiribati removes pre-departure Covid-19 test for international travelers

A statement from the Office of the President said all incoming passengers are instead required to visit local health clinics on South Tarawa and Betio, two or three days after arrival.

It said pre-departure Covid-19 test for inter-island travel has also been removed.

According to the Ministry of Health and Medical Services, the number of daily Covid infections continue to decline. It said the Omicron B2 has arrived in the country with very few people infected by it.

Empty seats mark first Pacific Islands Forum summit meeting

Prime ministers from Australia and Papua New Guinea are expected to fly into Suva tonight, however the empty seats with Marshall Islands, Kiribati and Nauru name tags will not be filled.

This morning's meeting for leaders, observers and associate members was opened by Fijian prime minister Frank Bainimarama, who acknowledged the 'breakdown in communication' with the Micronesian bloc.

He called on the leaders to remember the necessity of re-establishing "our family bonds".

Kiribati withdraws from Pacific Islands Forum in blow to regional body

 The Pacific has become a site of intense geostrategic competition, as a result of increased interest from China, and Kiribati’s withdrawal will weaken the forum at a time when Pacific regionalism in the face of fierce geopolitical attention has never been more important.

 Taneti Maamau, the president of Kiribati, outlined his reasons for the decision in a letter to the PIF secretary general that was first reported by 1News New Zealand but which has been obtained independently by the Guardian.

Kiribati govt declares state of disaster due to severe drought

This follows increased salinity levels in the water sources and below-normal recent rainfall which is forecast to continue until the end of the year.

The disaster declaration allows the government to coordinate efforts involving various public bodies and international agencies and partners to get aid to those already being affected.

The Public Utilities Board is advising people to boil water or use bottled water.

Pacific Maritime Safety Programme approved for another four years

The programme delivers maritime safety initiatives to seven Pacific Island countries – Cook Islands, Kiribati, Niue, Samoa, Tokelau, Tonga and Tuvalu.

The funding, from 1 July 2022 to 30 June 2026, marks the fourth phase of the programme.

The PMSP is a Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade programme, funded through the International Development Cooperation programme and delivered by Maritime NZ.