Sunday, June 23, 2024

RELEASE: Statement of the Forum Chair, Cook Islands PM Mark Brown on the political situation in New Caledonia

30 May 2024 Pacific Islands Forum

Statement by the Chair of the Pacific Islands Forum and the Prime Minister of Cook Islands, Hon Mark Brown – Developments on the Political Situation in New Caledonia.

30 May 2024

The political situation in New Caledonia remains deeply concerning to the Forum Family, and I offer our prayers to those that continue to be affected on the ground, and particularly those who have lost loved ones.

I reiterate the call for peace and order to prevail and commend the ongoing peaceful efforts to reach a mutually agreeable way forward, including the recent high-level discussions that took place in New Caledonia.

I reiterate my earlier statement conveying the Pacific Islands Forum’s readiness to facilitate and provide a supported and neutral space for all parties to come together in the spirit of the Pacific Way, to find an agreed way forward that safeguards the interests of the people of New Caledonia.

New Caledonia is a full member of the Pacific Islands Forum, and I have written to the President of the Government of New Caledonia, His Excellency Louis Mapou, to offer the support of the PIF, including outlining the comprehensive regional mechanisms and processes available to Forum Members during times such as this.

Throughout the Forum’s history, regional mechanisms have played a critical supportive role, particularly in instances where other modalities of conflict resolution have stalled. Indeed, our Pacific region is home to independent experts and skilled personnel that are familiar with this region, its history, its people, and importantly, its context, that can support all parties to move this process forward.

I further acknowledge that following the high-level meetings in Noumea earlier this month, the issue of time to resolve these complex and historical issues remains unsettled. I recall the Forum Ministerial Committee to the 2021 New Caledonia Referendum Report, in particular the important contextual analysis it continues to provide, capturing its valid concerns over the future implications of the disagreement between parties on the matter of timing of the 2021 Referendum.

Without impeding agreed processes on the way forward, I urge all parties to work together and within the spirit of consensus building as they seek lasting resolution. The events of the past few years in New Caledonia demonstrate that this matter must be underpinned by an inclusive process and must not be rushed.

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