Nauru president David Adeang and his delegation left meeting when the topic of the Secretary General's appointment was raised.
PMN News in Rarotonga
Questions have been raised whether the Nauru president and his delegation staged a walk out or happened to leave a meeting at the Pacific Islands Forum.
Following the Nauru president walking out of a meeting at the Pacific Islands Forum, New Zealand media in the Cook Islands are reporting that David Adeang and his delegation were offended by questions regarding the appointment of the regional body's incoming secretary general Baron Waqa.
Adeang was also no show at the Leaders' Retreat in Aitutaki later that day, underlining concerns the unity of the Forum is under threat.
The contentious topic was the Forum's next Secretary General, Nauru’s former president Baron Waqa, and whether the selection process should be changed in future.
Outgoing deputy Prime Minister Carmel Sepuloni says she saw David Adeang leave, but didn't read anything into it.
“Oh look, I'm not even entirely sure there was a walk out ... because leaders are coming in and out during the Forum, so I'm not entirely sure that that is the case. That is just what I've seen online.”
ABC foreign affairs correspondent Stephen Dziedzic says the misunderstanding happened at the plenary session in the morning.
“Samoa's PM suggested the SG nomination process be discussed. Nauru seems to have taken this as an attempt to block Baron Waqa as SG (it wasn't).”
Waqa has denied accusations of receiving bribes and interfering with the justice system, and has also been criticised for his country's treatment of refugees.
Sepuloni says there's a lot to discuss, but unity is key.
“The decision being revisited doesn’t mean an intention to reverse it, necessarily. I think it’s important that we all get behind the Secretary General, and that as a region, as a collective of nations, that we support the PIF to be effective and constructive, and that means supporting the Secretary General in his role.”
National's representative at the Pacific Islands Forum Gerry Brownlee was cautious when questioned about the appointment.
“It’s the region’s choice, but that was subsequent to the Suva agreement.”
Leaders met in Fiji earlier this year, where it was decided Waqa would be the next leader of the regional organisation.