Friday, July 16, 2010

NZ will not come to Fiji meet says PM Key

Fiji Live News - July 16, 2010

New Zealand will not be attending a meeting of Pacific Island leaders announced by Fiji’s administration after a regional summit to be held in Natadola next week was cancelled, Prime Minister John Key says.

Key said today the suggestion that New Zealand was interfering in Fijian politics was “totally and utterly incorrect”. “New Zealand hasn't done anything ... to undermine the MSG meeting,” he was quoted by Pacnews as saying.

He did not think the alternative meeting would overshadow the Pacific Islands Forum summit in Vanuatu next month.

“New Zealand has reached out to Fiji and tried to extend the hand of friendship and restore a diplomatic pathway. We are not trying to punish Fiji, we are simply trying to get democracy restored.”

There were actions New Zealand could take, such as bringing diplomatic representation in Suva back to New Zealand, although Key said he was not proposing to do that.

“That would have quite a dramatic impact on the people of Fiji because that is the processing centre for visas. It would also have quite a dramatic impact on neighbouring countries that rely on Fiji and New Zealand support of their processing for immigration perspectives.”

Mr Key said he did not expect New Zealand's acting high commissioner to Suva would be expelled from Fiji.

“From our perspective we believe action taken against a New Zealand diplomat will be without foundation.”

Australia’s acting high commissioner to Fiji Sarah Roberts was expelled this week with Fiji claiming she had interfered in the island country’s internal affairs by making presentations to island governments on having the proposed Fiji MSG meeting cancelled.

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