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Regional News

Palau leader says Micronesia will demand a stronger voice in the Pacific

KOROR (Pacific Note/Pacnews) — The Micronesian region should continue sounding its small but powerful voice to address the many concerns it faces, Palau President Remengesau said.

  He said through a united front, island nations can work more effectively to address many of their concerns. These include climate change, environmental degradation, illegal fishing and lack of air transport service. 

“Today’s gathering of leaders from all independent Micronesian nations supported  by regional partners and envoys from many of our allies, demonstrates how far we have come both as countries and as a region. Yet there is much we need to accomplish to establish the Micronesian region as a stronghold both in the Pacific region and the international community,” Remengesau said.

Palau is hosting this year’s Micronesian Presidents Summit, bringing together the chief executives — or their representative — of the independent countries of Micronesia: Palau, the FSM, the Marshall Islands, Kiribati and Nauru.

Remengesau said with Kiribati and Nauru joining the summit, the Micronesian bloc now comprises a majority of small island states within the larger Pacific Islands Forum.

“Together we must demand a stronger voice in regional planning and negotiations,” he said during his opening remarks.

He said with a greater voice, the region could have better access to funding and programs that can improve the lives of the Micronesian people.

 In an interview, Remengesau said the Micronesian nations are asking the United Nations to establish an office in the North Pacific. 

He said U.N. programs in the Pacific are always centered in the South Pacific.

“We feel that the countries of the North Pacific need to come together to work with the U.N. so it can establish a meaningful office in the North Pacific,” he added.

 Also participating in the two-day summit were Marshall Islands President Hilda Heine, Kiribati President Taneti Mamau, Nauru’s Minister Assisting the President  David Adeang, and FSM Secretary of Foreign Affairs Lorin S. Robert.