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    Tuesday, November 19, 2019-10:05:24A.M.

     

     

     

     

     

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Micronesia area presidents nominate Zackios for Forum secretary general

MAJURO — Marshall Islands Ambassador to the United States Gerald Zackios has been nominated for the post of secretary general of the Pacific Islands Forum.

Marshall Islands Ambassador to the U.S. Gerald Zackios, pictured here in a file photo while speaking at the Nitijela or parliament in the Marshall Islands, has been nominated for the Forum secretary general position. Photo provided by Giff Johnson

Five presidents from the Micronesia area endorsed Zackios to head the Fiji-based Forum Secretariat. Presidents Hilda Heine of the Marshall Islands, Tommy Remengesau Jr. of Palau, Lionel Aingimea of Nauru, Taneti Maamau of Kiribati and David Panuelo of the Federated States of Micronesia joined together last week to make the nomination of Zackios to Tuvalu Prime Minister Kausea Natano, who chairs the Forum as this year’s host of the leaders summit.

“We emphasize our regional understanding that it is the Micronesia sub-region’s turn in rotation to submit a candidate to be the next secretary general,” said the five presidents in supporting Zackios, who has been Marshall Islands ambassador in Washington since 2016.

“Zackios is highly regarded and respected throughout the Micronesian sub-region as a preeminent example of a world-class diplomat and negotiator, with an unrivaled intellect juxtaposed to a sensitivity and heart that emphasizes the Pacific values of respect and cooperation,” said the FSM government in a release about the nomination. “His career as a public servant includes such distinguished appointments such as the regional director for the Pacific Community’s North Pacific Regional Office in Pohnpei, the Marshall Islands minister of foreign affairs, the Marshall Islands attorney general, and the chief negotiator for the Marshall Islands Compact of Free Association with the United States in 2001-2003.”

The current Forum Secretary-General is Dame Meg Taylor of Papua New Guinea whose second three-year term ends next year.

The nomination of Zackios for the Forum position follows the five presidents recommending to U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres that a new United Nations office for the Micronesia area be located in the Federated States of Micronesia.