Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Australian diplomat leaves the country




Fiji Village News - Story by: Vijay Narayan
14 July 2010 
Members of the diplomatic corp including the US, Britain, Papua New Guinea, South Africa, Japan, the EU, the UN, Malaysia, Korea and the Forum Secretariat were at the Australian High Commission 
in Suva to farewell expelled Australian diplomat, Sarah Roberts.

The diplomats accompanied Roberts to Lami as she left for Nadi International Airport.

Roberts will leave the country this afternoon.

The Fiji government handed the official letter of expulsion to Roberts yesterday after she was declared persona non-grata.

She is the second Australian diplomat to be expelled.

Donor countries control Pacific countries through aid money - Illegal Fiji PM



Aid money can play a big part on how countries relying on aid make decisions and this is one of ways that the planned Melanesian Spearhead Group Plus meeting has been sabotaged.

Those are the words of Fiji's Prime Minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama who said it cannot be ignored that millions of dollars are being given out by Australia to certain Pacific island countries, and he said it is all about control.

Commodore Bainimarama believed Australia then expected countries like Vanuatu to return the favour by asking outgoing MSG Chair and Vanuatu Prime Minister, Edward Natepei to cancel next week's meeting in Fiji.

Bainimarama said the solidarity of the Pacific island countries will always be at risk based on some donor countries using tactics to control what happens in the Pacific.

However Fiji's Prime Minister stresses that countries like Australia and NZ will continue to remain frustrated because they cannot control Fiji's destiny.

Fiji's Foreign Minister, Ratu Inoke Kubuabola said special aid from Australia will see the Vanuatu government receive 66.4 million dollars, the highest ever in the country's aid from Australia.

Meanwhile Australia's Foreign Affairs Minister Stephen Smith while speaking to Radio Australia said the reasons for Sarah Roberts expulsion from Fiji are linked to the postponement of the MSG meeting.

Smith has however admitted that Australia had been making representations against the idea of a MSG Plus meeting taking place.



Why Natapei changed his tune-Bainimarama





Fiji's Prime Minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama has questioned why Vanuatu Prime Minister and Chair of the Melanesian Spearhead Group, Edward Natapei has changed his tune that the MSG should not be chaired by a non-elected leader.

Speaking to Fijivillage from Korea earlier today, Commodore Bainimarama said Natapei never brought up this issue earlier, even when Bainimarama went to attend the MSG Summit in Vanuatu.


While deferring the MSG Plus meeting in Fiji last night Natapei said this is a collective decision of the leaders of Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, the FLNKS in New Caledonia and Vanuatu in light of the current impasse within the grouping over the Chairmanship of the MSG.

According to the rotation cycle of hosting of the MSG, Fiji is the next host and Chair of the Leaders Summit.

The deferment came after Prime Minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama's chairmanship of the grouping was questioned last week after intervention from Papua New Guinea Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare for MSG Leaders to accept Commodore Bainimarama as chair.

Natapei said the potential long term ramifications of allowing Fiji to Chair the MSG this time cannot be ignored.

He said there are basic fundamental principles, values of democracy and good governance that the organisation is built on and they must to continue to uphold them.

However Commodore Bainimarama said it is Australia that had a problem with Fiji hosting and chairing the MSG meeting.

The Fiji government is now trying to confirm the number of Pacific Island leaders who are expected to attend a planned meeting of "Friends of Fiji" next week.

This follows the confirmation from Prime Minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama that Fiji is moving ahead to organise a meeting of Pacific Island leaders in the country next week.

Despite the announcement by the Chairman of MSG and Vanuatu Prime Minister, Edward Natapei last night that the MSG meeting has been deferred until further notice, Commodore Bainimarama said the meeting will go ahead with the leaders who are expected to attend.

Speaking from Korea earlier today, Commodore Bainimarama said the solidarity amongst the Pacific island countries needs to be maintained.

Solomon Islands Prime Minister, Doctor Derek Sikua was expected to arrive in Fiji this weekend.

Six non MSG members, Kiribati, Tuvalu, Nauru, Palau, Federated States of Micronesia and Marshall Islands had also indicated that they would attend next week's meeting in Natadola.

We are also trying to confirm on whether Papua New Guinea Prime Minister, Sir Michael Somare will attend the meeting as there are moves in PNG by the opposition to move a vote of no-confidence against him in the PNG parliament next week.

The Fiji government has handed the official letter of expulsion to Acting Australian High Commissioner to Fiji, Sarah Roberts.


The Australian High Commission is yet to comment however the ABC News reports that the letter has been received by Roberts.

Roberts is expected to leave the country within 24 hours after she was declared persona non-grata by Fiji late last night.

She is the second Australian diplomat to be expelled, and is expected to leave the country tomorrow.

Speaking from Korea, Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama said the action had to be taken and he said he knows that this will not result in any improvement to the relationship between Australia and Fiji.

Meanwhile Australian Foreign Minister, Stephen Smith confirmed that Australia will not retaliate and will not cut off diplomatic ties with Fiji.


Fiji's Foreign Affairs Minister, Ratu Inoke Kubuabola said most of the non-MSG member countries had already accepted the invitation to attend. He said Australia has no business in the MSG Leaders Summit but has continued to discourage MSG member states from attending the meeting in Fiji.

Kubuabola said this is evident in the increase in aid from Australia in its 2010 and 2011 budget to the Pacific.

He said the special aid from Australia will see the Vanuatu government receive $66.4 million, the highest ever in the country's aid from Australia.

No comments: