Thursday, January 21, 2010

Leweni Nominated Fiji's Envoy to NZ - January 20, 2010

Permanent Secretary for Information Neumi Leweni has been earmarked to head Fiji’s High Commission in Wellington.

It’s understood the nomination for the position of Fiji’s representative in New Zealand has been put forward by the Fiji Government.

But Leweni said it will be entirely up to Foreign Affairs and the New Zealand government.

The Government spokesman joined the military in 1974 and was one of two official spokesmen for the Military in 2006.

He resigned in August 2007 to take up a diplomatic post, as Military attaché to China.

Fiji PM awaits NZ response on nominee
Thursday, January 21, 2010

Prime Minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama says Fiji is awaiting a response from New Zealand on their nominee to the post of Diplomatic Counsellor to Wellington.

Bainimarama would not confirm the name of the nominee but says they are looking to see sanctions against his government removed.

“We are keenly awaiting the New Zealand government’s response. As I mentioned last week – we are pleased the New Zealand government has taken a step forward in rebuilding our diplomatic relations. We are looking forward to progressing our discussions especially to see the removal of all sanctions on Fiji. We have submitted our nominee for the position of counselor as agreed to in the initial meeting of our two Foreign Ministers, New Zealand is yet to respond to us on that.”

Meanwhile the New Zealand government has not confirmed whether they have received a nominee from Fiji to serve at its diplomatic mission in Wellington.

This follows media reports in Fiji that Permanent Secretary for Information Lt Colonel Neumi Leweni was to be appointed Fiji’ Counselor to the NZ capital.

A spokeswoman for NZ Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully told NZ media that there was a convention against commenting on diplomatic appointments while discussions were ongoing.

The Fiji government has not officially confirmed Neumi Leweni’s name, only saying that a top government official has been nominated.

The Fiji government is sensitive to releasing the names of diplomatic appointees after some of their nominees to High Commissions and Embassies were rejected by the host countries.

New Zealand and Fiji agreed to improve diplomatic relations earlier this year but NZ sanctions against Fiji remain.

Top government officials and military officers are banned from traveling to NZ. Fiji’s proposed nomination of Lt Colonel Leweni is seen by some as a test by the Fiji government to see how strongly NZ wants to reengage diplomatic relations.

Bainimarama says the lifting of sanctions against his government will be one of the first issues they will raise with the NZ Government.

“We are going to talk to the New Zealand Government about the lifting of sanctions. This is one of the first issues we will raise with the New Zealand Government as soon as the diplomatic appointments are made. Importantly - we will invest on New Zealand and Australia to hear Fiji out. They are not doing this well right now.”

Fiji Broadcasting Corporation

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