Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Australia calls Fiji regime threat of abandoning 2014 elections a ruse

Radio New Zealand International -  14 July, 2010 

Australian Foreign Minister, Stephen Smith, has dismissed as a ruse a threat by Fiji’s military regime to cancel planned elections in 2014.
Fiji’s interim Prime Minister, Frank Bainimarama, says Fiji might not be ready for an election if it did not get any assistance from Australia and New Zealand.
His comments came shortly after Australia’s acting high commissioner, Sarah Roberts, was ordered out of Fiji.
Commodore Bainimarama has accused Canberra of having pressured Vanuatu’s Prime Minister Edward Natapei into cancel a meeting of Melanesian Spearhead Group leaders planned for next week in Fiji.
Mr Smith says such claims are nonsense and he told ABC Radio it would be no surprise if an election wasn’t held in 2014.
Mr Smith says Australia would persist in its diplomatic efforts with Fiji although it’s hard to maintain a one-way dialogue.

Fiji makes plans for new meeting to be called Friends of Fiji

Posted on 14 July, 2010 
The Fiji Government is in the process of getting confirmation as to which Pacific Islands leaders will attend a meeting its hosting next week.
The Permanent Secretary in the Prime Ministers Office, Pio Tikoduadua has told Fiji Village that while the MSG-plus meeting has been deferred, a "Friends of Fiji" meeting will take place.
Lieutenant Colonel Tikoduadua says the Government is in the process of confirming the availability of other Pacific Island leaders, minus Vanuatu Prime Minister, Edward Natapei.

Primacy of Forum a factor in scuttling of MSG meeting in Fiji

Posted  on 14 July, 2010 
The New Zealand Government says it wasn’t worried Fiji’s planned Melanesian Spearhead Group-Plus summit would undermine the Pacific Islands Forum.
Fiji had intended bringing various Polynesian and Micronesian countries to the meeting, but the MSG summit has been cancelled over concerns it would be chaired by an unelected leader.
New Zealand and Australia have rejected Fiji claims they’d pushed for the meeting to be scuttled, though Australia’s Foreign Minister, Stephen Smith, says they didn’t want the expanded meeting to undermine next month’s Forum summit.
His New Zealand counterpart, Murray McCully, says this wasn’t a particular concern for him but says it’s important that the Forum’s prime position is protected.
“The Forum is the pre-eminent body. That doesn’t make a sub regional body like the MSG unimportant at all, it’s got a very important role to play, but it is important to ensure that the Forum’s pre-eminent position is protected, and I know Prime Minister Natapei was particularly concerned, as Forum chair, to ensure he got the balance right.”

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