Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Voreqe Dishonourable

Fiji no-show dishonourable: Smith
Australian Foreign Minister Stephen Smith says Fiji’s military leader Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama is compelled as “a matter of honour” to turn up to the Pacific Islands Forum.According to reports in The Australian, Smith said Fiji’s boycott of the Forum is disappointing.Commodore Bainimarama has boycotted this week's meeting in Niue, blaming a New Zealand decision to prevent its delegation attending post-forum talks in Auckland.Smith told Sky News Commodore Bainimarama “gave a faithful and unconditional undertaking” to Pacific Island leaders in Tonga last October that Fiji would have election before the end of March next year. “He was compelled as a matter of honour to turn up to the forum and explain himself to the leaders,” Smith said.“It is very disappointing that he won't turn up to effectively take his medicine.“There was nothing standing in the way of Fiji holding an election if the political will was still there,” Smith said.Smith said leaders of other Pacific Island nations and even Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd would be disappointed at the stand taken by Fiji.He further added that Australia would continue its sanctions of the military Government.“Australia needs to argue strongly, both regionally in the Pacific and in the international community, that Fiji must return to democracy, must return to respecting human rights and the rule of law and democratic processes in Fiji,” Smith is quoted as saying.

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