Friday, July 16, 2010

What Conspiracy theory Pio?


by Shalveen Chand

Fiji Times - Friday, July 16, 2010

THE conspiracy theory over a break away from the Pacific Islands Forum was an assumption made by Australia and New Zealand, said Permanent Secretary in the Office of the Prime Minister, Lieutenant Colonel Pio Tikoduadua.
Lt-Col Tikoduadua said Fiji's intention was to have an extended network of island nations which would have helped the Melanesi-an Spearhead Group nations and those involved in the talks.
He said all nations expected earlier, excluding Vanuatu, were coming to a meeting titled Engaging Fiji.
The comments come amid statements expressing concern by Australia and New Zealand that an MSG Plus meeting would destabilise the Pacific Islands Forum. The MSG Plus was postponed after Vanuatu, which holds the chairmanship, asked for a postponement.
Lt-Col Tikoduadua said this was why acting Australian High Commissioner Sarah Roberts was expelled.
"We called her more than once and told her to stop doing things from the background. We have knowledge of activities conducted by them to undermine the (Fiji) Government," said Col Tikoduadua. He did not specify what that knowledge entailed.
Meanwhile, Foreign Affairs permanent secretary Solo Mara told FBC News last night that eight Pacific Island countries had indicated they would attend next week's meeting.
Mr Mara said the eight countries had asked that their attendance not be known publicly.
Solomon Island prime minister Dr Derek Sikua will be in the country for the meeting.
The Office of the Prime Minister in the Solomon Islands confirmed Dr Sikua would arrive in Fiji on Sunday and travel to Suva where a new Solomon Islands chancery is to be opened, following which he would travel to Natadola for the meeting.
It has also been confirmed that Papua New Guinea Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare will not attend the meeting but a PNG delegation of officials already in the country would. PNG Secretary for Foreign Affairs Michael Maue will head the delegation that arrived last weekend.

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