But Fiji wants Australia, New Zealand out
Moments after the magazine posted on its Facebook page the announcement by the Pacific Islands Forum that Fiji’s suspension from it has been lifted, an avid reader posted – “But will Fiji want to rejoin?” Our reader was actually not way off the mark. The same day, Fiji Television quoted Fiji’s Foreign Minister Ratu Inoke Kubuabola as saying more or less the same thing. “Our position is very clear,” Ratu Inoke told FijiTV. “Fiji is not going back to the Forum until some changes and reforms are made in the organisation like Australia and New Zealand to move out of PIF (Pacific Islands Forum) and become only development partners, or other development partners like Japan, China, Korea, US etc also to become members.” Fiji’s Foreign Minister indicated he had the backing of his own Prime Minister.
He said they had discussed Fiji’s position one day before the current chair of the Forum, Palau’s President Tommy Remengesau made the announcement of Fiji’s return to the Forum. “I requested the Forum Secretariat to deliver my letter addressed to the Prime Minister of Fiji, the Hon. Rear Admiral (Retired) Josaia Voreqe Bainimarama conveying the decision of the Forum Leaders to fully lift the suspension of Fiji from the Forum forthwith,” President Remengesau said in a statement the Forum Secretariat released on October 24.
“Forum Leaders were unanimous in their decision to lift Fiji’s suspension from the Forum based on a recommendation to Leaders by the Forum Ministerial Contact Group (MCG) on Fiji. Leaders had earlier requested the MCG to make a recommendation to them following the election in Fiji regarding its readmission to the Forum based on an assessment of the report of the Multinational Observer Group and any other factors the MCG wishes to take into account. “Forum Leaders fully welcomed and accepted the recommendation of the Forum Ministerial Contact Group and very much look forward to Fiji’s participation and contribution in all Forum activities, including the meetings of the Forum Leaders. I thank and acknowledge the Forum Ministerial Contact Group on Fiji for its steadfast commitment and hard work.
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