Business as Usual for PM on First Day of Forum Meeting in Tuvalu
Mr Bainimarama spoke with confidence knowing that he has the 100 per cent backing of the small island states on climate change. It’s the same kind of support he is likely to get on other issues.
Yesterday was just another day at the office for Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama during the first day of the Pacific Islands Forum meeting in Funafuti, Tuvalu.
As he moved to articulate three issues from climate change to oceans and human rights – there was no letup in his intense engagement with forum leaders.
He has been on the go since he arrived in Funafuti on Sunday on board a military aircraft. He was the first leader to arrive, obviously anxious about re-engaging at the forum after staying out for more than 10 years.
But his long absence has had no impact on his return. It appears he never left. He has been warmly embraced by everyone, realising that he brings a lot of strength and value to the forum.
He approaches the various issues with passion
and commitment in the same way and intensity that he does to climate change. So when the forum started yesterday, it was business as usual for him. It is understood that Mr Bainimarama loves to be busy and he raises the bar when he is under pressure. He does not like to be idle. Yesterday, he spoke on climate change in that unmistakable tone, just as he did on Monday when he addressed small island developing states, that caught the attention of the world.
On human rights, he made it clear that Fiji was committed to the protection of human rights. He was concerned about reports of alleged human rights violations in West Papua. He strongly advocated for the protection of the human rights of all West Papua. He was speaking as Vice-President of the UN Human Rights Council. Mr Bainimarama spoke with confidence knowing that he has the 100 per cent backing of the small island states on climate change. It’s the same kind of support he is likely to get on other issues.
As he heads for the Leaders’ Retreat today he is expecting more engagement there with other leaders.
He will engage with Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Australia’s commitment to cutting back carbon emission because of its reliance on the coal industry in the national economy.
This is despite Australia’s announcement that it will fund a A$500 million climate change package for the Pacific.
It is likely to be a prelude to more substantive dialogue in Canberra next month when Mr Bainimarama makes his first official visit to Australia.
He has been on the go since he arrived in Funafuti on Sunday on board a military aircraft.
Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama (third from left) during the Pacific Islands Forum in Tuvalu.