Koror, Palau | Palau announced Friday its withdrawal from the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) following a conflict over the election of its secretary general which, in the long term, could lessen its influence on global warming issues.
Palau said the decision was motivated by the failure of the candidate who had his favors for the post of secretary general of the FIP.
Four other Micronesian countries threaten to do the same.
This 18-member organization, made up of small island states as well as New Zealand and Australia, is also a player in this region where Beijing and Washington compete for influence.
The five Micronesian nations felt that it was now their turn to choose the secretary general of the forum.
But the candidate they were backing was not elected Thursday after former Cook Islands prime minister Henry Puna decided to run for the post.
“Following these recent events, the government of the Republic of Palau will end its participation in the Pacific Islands Forum,” the government said in a diplomatic letter, a copy of which AFP obtained.
The other four Micronesian states – the Marshall Islands, Kiribati, Nauru and the Federated States of Micronesia – are due to meet virtually on Monday to discuss what to do with the Palau initiative.
A split within the Forum risks reducing its influence on climate change.
Given their low altitude, these small Pacific islands are on the front lines of climate change, due to their exposure to sea level rise and cyclones.