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Excerpt from France24

The Pacific Islands Forum apologised Wednesday for its handling of a leadership row that prompted five nations to quit the grouping, but one of the leading dissenters said it meant nothing without remedial action.

The dispute erupted in February, splitting the Forum and upending diplomacy in a region where the United States and China are competing for influence.

Micronesian countries, angry their preferred candidate for PIF secretary general was snubbed when it was their turn to fill the role, announced they would leave the 18-member body.

Senior Forum members held a virtual meeting with the Micronesian leaders this week to discuss the rift and look at “restoring the solidarity of the PIF”.

Forum chair Kausea Natano said there were “open and frank” talks with the Micronesian members, comprising Palau, the Marshall Islands, Kiribati, Nauru, and the Federated States of Micronesia.

“It was an opportunity for the forum to directly express to the Micronesian leaders our regret and apologies for the current circumstances facing our forum family,” he said in a statement issued Wednesday.

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