THE Pacific Leaders Meeting (PALM 6) in Japan is set to get
underway with 13 top leaders around the pacific confirmed to attend.
Among them is Prime Minister Gordon Darcy Lilo.
PM Lilo will travel to Japan after visiting Taiwan.
Other elite pacific leaders that are confirmed to attend the summit are Cook Islands Prime Minister Henry Puna, President of Kiribati Anote Tong, President of the Federated States of Micronesia Emanuel Mori, President of Palau Johnson Toribiong, Nauru President Arumogo Dabwido, Marshall Islands President Christopher Loeak, Samoa Prime Minister Tuilaepa Malielegaoi, Premier of Niue Tufukia Talagi, Vanuatu Prime Minister Sato Kilman, Tongan Prime Minister Lord Tu’ Ivakano, Tuvalu Prime Minister Willy Telavi and PNG Prime Minister Peter O’Neil.
However, one of the pacific regions notably faces Fiji will not be attending.
A spokesman from the Japanese Foreign Affairs confirmed Fiji’s Prime Minister Commodore Bainimarama was not invited as Japan was concerned with the pacific island nation’s long standing political situation.
“Fiji’s situation is not impressive and the time has not come yet for Fiji,” the spokesperson told pacific journalists yesterday.
It is understood Japan requested Fiji’s foreign affairs minister instead of Bainimarama which forced the Fijian leader to boycott his minister to attend.
However, the spokesman said preparations are well underway as most of the leaders will be arriving today and tomorrow in time for the welcome function which will be hosted by the host nation’s Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda this Friday.
Among the top delegates; Australian Parliamentary for Pacific Islands Richard Marles, New Zealand’s Parliamentary Private Secretary of Foreign Affairs John Hayes, US Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Department of State Dan Clune and the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat’s Secretary General Tuiloma Slade will also be attending.
This is the first time US has been invited to join the summit since it started in 1997.
Bilateral meetings will kick off on Thursday before the three-day summit commences from May 25-27.
The leaders will be flown on a chartered government flight to Okinawa for the PALM 6.
By DOUGLAS MARAU
In Tokyo, Japan
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