Puna says political dialog underway to repair rift in Pacific Islands Forum

Henry Puna

Taking the helm of the fractured Pacific Islands Forum, Henry Puna said a "political dialog" is underway to try to resolve the conflict among member nations.

The former prime minister of Cook Islands has succeeded Dame Meg Taylor as secretary-general of the Forum after a protest-ridden ballot in February that prompted five nations to withdraw their membership.

The dialog process, Puna said, "is symbolic of our Pacific way of talanoa and amicable resolution of differences."

However, he offered no details about the "political dialog." "Let us await the outcome of that process," Puna said. "As the Forum Secretariat, we will continue to serve all members and I look forward to that ongoing engagement across our Forum family."

Puna said he is assuming his new role with an open mind, confidence in his team and a focus on the Forum family and values of regionalism.

“Our Blue Pacific continent is at its best and its strongest when our member nations work together as a family, and we must continue to do all we can to protect that strength,"