Cook Islands assume Pacific Islands Forum chair responsibilities
By Pacific Island Times News Staff
Rarotonga, Cook Islands -- Cook Islands Prime Minister Mark Brown is getting ready to buckle down to work following his assumption of the chairmanship of the Pacific Islands Forum during the special leaders retreat last week,
“Let’s get to work,” said Brown, who succeeded Fiji Prime Minister Sitiveni Rabuka.
“The Cook Islands have long recognized that as a region, we are stronger together. We have been staunch advocates of Pacific unity and solidarity and ensuring that in our collective efforts, the most vulnerable within our Forum family is supported," Brown said at the conclusion of the retreat.
Brown led the Cook Islands delegation to Fiji.
The Cook Islands delegation included Tepaeru Herrmann, special envoy to the Pacific Islands Forum and secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Immigration; and Jim Armistead, Cook Islands High commissioner to Fiji and resident in Suva, with three officials from MFAI's Pacific and Regional Affairs Division in Rarotonga.
Brown said, “Fiji’s "stellar leadership" as Forum chair has been instrumental in the full reunification of our Forum family, including Kiribati’s return to the fold. I was pleased to have worked with colleague leaders during last week’s SLR to deliver on our collective political commitment to Forum unity and solidarity, including as detailed in the Suva Agreement agreed in June last year.
“As individual governments and the Forum collective, supported by our PIF Secretariat in Suva, and regional agencies across the Council of Regional Organizations in the Pacific family, we now need to get on with the work required to deliver on the directions of Leaders as detailed in July 2022 and February 2023 Forum Leaders Communique.”
In a ceremonial presentation of the Pacific Islands Forum flag at the Special Leaders Retreat closing ceremony, Brown accepted the flag from the outgoing PIF Chair, Prime Minister Sitiveni Rabuka, and with it, assumed Chair of the Pacific Islands Forum.