Australia stands alone at Pacific Islands Forum

By Helene Fung

Heads of Pacific countries including Australia and New Zealand held marathon meetings in Pacific nation Tuvalu for the 2019 Pacific Islands Forum.

A statement on climate change and a communique have been agreed early Friday morning.

However, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison refused to endorse the Tuvalu Declaration made by smaller Pacific countries, which called for a rapid phase-out of coal.

Enele Sopoaga, the Prime Minister of the host nation, told reporters that in a heated exchange with Mr Morrison, he said: “You are concerned about saving your economy in Australia … I am concerned about saving my people in Tuvalu.”

“The Prime Minister of Tonga actually cried in the meeting … shed tears in front of the leaders, such is the passion,” said Mr Sopoaga.

Australia’s been accused of bullying its way through the negotiations, while New Zealand received praise for their efforts in tackling climate change.

 

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