The Samoan Prime Minister, Tuilaepa Sa’ilele Malielegaoi, has raised concerns over Fiji’s position as being the headquarters of the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat.
PM Malielegaoi has expressed his desire for the location of the PIF Secretariat to be moved out of Fiji, and wants the discussion to be held in Papua New Guinea, come September in the next forum.
The battle between the two leaders is still on going with Fijian PM, Frank Bainimarama, calling the Samoan PM a “lap dog”, following critical statements made by the Samoan and New Zealand prime ministers concerning Fiji’s decision to boycott the PIF.
Tuilaepa stated in a transcript of an interview carried out by the Office of the Press Secretariat last week saying that the Pacific Islands Forum will still go on with or without Fiji.
“If Bainimarama is serious with his plan not to come in he must formally inform the President of the Forum, of his government’s intention, through the Secretary General of the Forum and leaders must then decide at the forthcoming meeting in Papua New Guinea to move the Forum Secretariat out of Fiji – that is the issue the leaders must address at its next forum meeting in PNG,” said Samoan PM, Tuilaepa Sa’ilele Malielegaoi.
While all fingers are pointing to Fiji as the “bad guy”, Bainimarama, claims that Malielegaoi has a hidden agenda to move the PIF Secretariat out of Fiji and relocate it to Apia so that he could be the Secretariat; claiming that it will not only be building up Tuilaepa’s reputation but also help boost the weak Samoan Economy.
Mr Bainimarama also said, “PIF will continue this year and years to follow with or without Fiji. All we are saying is that Australia and New Zealand should remain funders but not be part of PIF because they bring in a lot of influence with their dollars when their agenda is totally against that of the Pacific Island nations.”