Pacific leaders

Biden to host second summit with Pacific islands at White House

White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said in a statement the summit with the 18-member forum would take place on Monday and Tuesday.

At the summit, Biden would "reaffirm the US commitment to our shared regional priorities" with the Pacific islanders, and deepen cooperation with them in a range of areas, the statement said.

These included "tackling the climate crisis; advancing economic growth; promoting sustainable development; strengthening health security; countering illegal, unreported fishing; and expanding our people-to-people ties," it said.

Forum foreign ministers address key priorities for the region

The 2023 FFMM convened at the Forum Secretariat (PIFS) and was chaired by the host chair of the upcoming Forum Leaders Meeting, Cook Islands Prime Minister Mark Brown.

Both Australia and New Zealand's foreign ministers, Senator Penny Wong and Nanaia Mahuta, attended the meeting.

Fiji's assistant foreign affairs mionister Lenora Qereqeretabua attended the meeting on behalf of the prime minister and minister for foreign affairs Sitiveni Rabuka.

Pacific leaders split over Fukushima nuclear wastewater release

The release is due to get under way Thursday morning.

"There's a possibility we may have a splinter on our view on the Fukushima discharge, on the whole, we'll probably find consensus," former PIF chair and Fiji Prime Minister Sitiveni Rabuka told RNZ in Port Vila.

The International Atomic Energy Agency said the plan met international standards, but not all Pacific leaders were convinced of the project's safety.

Rabuka was optimistic that Pacific countries, particularly those in Melanesia would eventually see eye to eye.

Cook Islands will host Pacific leaders in November

The theme for the annual gathering will be, "Our Voices, Our Choices, Our Pacific Way: Promote, Partner, Prosper".

Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) chair and Cook Islands Prime Minster Mark Brown said hosting the meeting was a significant event for the country and the region.

"We have been planning and consulting extensively to ensure our theme serves to inspire and empower our Leaders gathering," Brown said.

Pacific leaders not surprised by latest climate report, call for rapid action

The report said more than a century of burning fossil fuels and unsustainable land use has had led to global warming of 1.5 degrees above pre-industrial levels.

Vanuatu's Minister for Climate Change Ralph Regenvanu said the report makes "very clear" the planet is out of time to make climate transformations.

"The IPCC report is what we expected because the world is not doing what it should be doing," Regenvanu said.

"So there was nothing surprising in that report, it is just more warning and showing that we really need to take drastic action immediately."

Fiji PM eager to host Pacific leaders

Fiji Prime Minister, Sitiveni Rabuka said he remains committed to working closely with Pacific Islands Forum leaders as he looks forward to welcoming them to the country to celebrate the dawn of a new era.

Rabuka highlighted this in a statement on Pacific solidarity.

He stressed that as the Chair of the Forum, he returns to this leadership role as the oldest leader-in-office regionally, which means he does not have the luxury nor the flexibility to make mistakes.

Shock and sadness as Pacific leaders react to Jacinda Ardern's resignation announcement

Brown is among a chorus of Pacific leaders who have sent their good wishes to Ardern after she announced on Thursday she is stepping down from her position after six years on the job.

Brown said he was surprised and sad to hear the news.

He said he wanted to acknowledge her leadership, particularly during difficult times such as the Christchurch terror attack.

He said he was grateful for Ardern's support during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Pacific leaders to meet Joe Biden in Washington

The US deputy Secretary of State, Wendy Sherman - who is on a whirlwind Pacific tour - has confirmed President Biden is "looking forward to welcoming" Pacific leaders to the White House in September, which will coincide with the week of the United Nations' General Assembly.

Sherman said the exact date for the meeting will be announced "very soon".

She arrived in Samoa on Thursday for a brief visit and was in Tonga before flying to Solomon Islands for the 80th anniversary commemorations of the of the Battle of Guadalcanal.

Pacific Islands Forum launch new regional blueprint

The '2050 Strategy for the Blue Pacific Continent' was endorsed by regional heads of governments on 14 July, as the curtains fell on the 51st Forum Leaders' Meeting in Suva.

"As Pacific Leaders, our vision is for a resilient Pacific Region of peace, harmony, security, social inclusion and prosperity, that ensures all Pacific peoples can lead free, healthy and productive lives," the 2050 strategy's leaders' vision states.

Forum chairman and Fiji Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama said the new regional blueprint "is about who we are".

US to hold high-level talks with Pacific leaders

According to the U.S State Department, Mr Blinken will be in Fiji on Friday to discuss a range of issues, including "the climate crisis, ending the Covid-19 pandemic, [and] disaster assistance".

The talks will also include America and the Pacific's "shared commitment to democracy, regional solidarity, and prosperity in the Pacific."

Fiji's acting Prime Minister Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum said the country is looking forward to welcoming the Secretary of State.