Rigorous discussion on Pacific architecture needed - Forum
Pacific Forum's Dame Meg Taylor supportive of discussion on the structure of regional agencies.
The head of the Pacific Islands Forum's secretariat says it is appropriate that Fiji has called for a discussion on regional architecture in the Pacific.
Fiji and Australia have called a meeting next month to discuss membership of the Forum among other issues.
Fiji, which was suspended from the Forum until after last September's election, is refusing to resume its full membership until there is a discussion on whether donor nations, such as Australia and New Zealand, can also be members.
The secretary general Dame Meg Taylor told Don Wiseman it is important such a discussion is had.
DAME MEG TAYLOR: I have been very upfront with leaders that I have met on discussions about regional architecture that Fiji has wanted as a pre-condition to their participating in the Pacific Islands Forum. They have always been a member, and they are a member - it is just the degree of involvement. And a discussion on regional architecture at this time, is I think, important. To ignore it is to just to put a lid on sentiments that have been expressed and I think its important to have a rigorous discussion around this.
DON WISEMAN: When a membert says 'I will join again but New Zealand and Australia have to stop being members because you cannot have members who are also donors - what do the other members say about that?
MT: I don't know what the other members will say and I will not speak on behalf of leaders - that I will not do because I think they have to get in a room. They have to discuss this. They have to consider before they come into that room all the consequences of all the different scenarios of what could happen. I would like to see Fiji to be back as a very active member of the PIF (Pacific Islands Forum) because it is a very valuable member of the Pacific region and other member states look towards it too, for its involvement and its position on certain issues that arise in the region. Fiji lays down its conditions, well it's a decision for the political leadership. Times have changed and what is it going to mean for us all in this region about membership of all the different organisations. You could ask the same thing about the SPC (Pacific Community) - you have got metropolitan powers that sit on the governing council of SPC. What does that mean? What is the influence of these powers on another organisation in the region? So I don't think that the Pacific Islands Forum is just an isolated issue here. Regional architecture to me means regional architecture, looking at the bigger picture and who the players are, and the decisions being made by political leadership, and they have to sort this out.
DW: Will the Pacific Islands Forum secretariat attend the meeting in Sydney?
MT: I don't know when that meeting in Sydney will happen definitely. If I am asked to be there I will. It is not being planned by the Pacific Islands Forum. I have discussions when leaders ask questions about it. And I urge them to have a discussion with Fiji about these issues. Can't give you anything more on that because to be frank, there isn't anything more at this stage of any firm commitment of all the leaders to be at a meeting in Sydney, until they have been consulted by those calling the meeting and what the purpose and what the scenario of outcomes could be.
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