Palau’s President, Surangel Whipps Jr has revealed the republican country is preparing to leave the Pacific Islands Forum.
The move comes after other Pacific Island leaders disregarded a request for a Micronesian leader to take over the role of Secretary General of PIF.
The decision had been going on for months, causing division among the leaders of the Forum.
Cook Islands Prime Minister, Henry Puna was appointed PIF Secretary General on Thursday, tipping Marshall Islands Diplomat, Gerald Zackios by one vote.
This result drew concern for President Whipps Jr, which stemmed from the fact that Pacific Island leaders failed to honor an unwritten agreement that the role be rotated by sub-region.
Whipps Jr deemed the leaders’ ignorance unacceptable and is questioning the composition of the PIF through which he is suggesting a new regional body may be needed.
Meanwhile, in a statement, the Republic of Palau stated that it would also be closing its Embassy in Suva effective as of February 28 2021.
The small island nation says with COVID on the rise, tough economic times and without further participation in the Pacific Islands Forum, the Republic of Palau cannot justify the current expanses of the Embassy in Suva, Fiji.