NEWS

Fiji Sets Terms For Return To PIF

Fiji has set conditions for its return to the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF), says Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama. He confirmed yesterday that he had received the letter from PIF leaders
25 Oct 2014 13:12
Fiji Sets Terms For Return To PIF

Fiji has set conditions for its return to the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF), says Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama.

He confirmed yesterday that he had received the letter from PIF leaders that Fiji’s suspension had been lifted.

Mr Bainmarama said now that they had welcomed Fiji back, PIF leaders should  really look at the conditions set by Fiji.

While he did not elaborate, it is no secret that Fiji will only return to PIF if Australia and New Zealand reliquish their seats as members.

Fiji feels that because they are major aid donors in the region, they wield considerable influence and dictate things.

While opening the new Pacific Islands Development Forum (PIDF) seretariat in Nasese early this year, Mr Bainimarama said: “We don’t see the PIDF as a competitor for the existing Pacific Islands Forum. It is not a question of governments having to choose between the two.

“However, Fiji no longer believes that the Pacific Islands Forum, in its existing form, adequately serves the interests of all Pacific islanders. We also believe that the forum has become overly bureaucratic.”

He said the ceremony was the beginning of a new era of regional co-operation – “one that is much more inclusive than that of any existing structure.”

The Minister for Foreign Affairs, Ratu Inoke Kubuabola, said Fiji’s position was very clear.

“Fiji is not going back to PIF till some changes and reforms are made in the organisation; for example Australia and New Zealand to move out of PIF,” he said.

He said the two should become development partners only like Japan, China, Korea and others.

Tommy E. Remengesau Jr, the president of   Palau, had signed the PIF letter to Mr Bainimarama.

Mr Remengesau Jr said forum leaders were unanimous in their decision to lift Fiji’s suspension based on a recommendation to the leaders by the Forum Ministerial Contact Group (MCG) on Fiji.

PIF leaders welcomed and accepted the recommendation of the forum’s MCG. They very much look forward to Fiji’s participation and contribution in all forum activities, including the meetings of the forum leaders.

The acting secretary general of the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat, Andie Fong Toy, said: “We welcome the decision of the forum leaders to lift Fiji’s suspension from the Forum.”

Australia and New Zealand pressed for Fiji’s suspension after it would not follow an election timetable they wanted.

Feedback:  maikab@fijisun.com.fj

 

 




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