US reserves comment on arms deal

RUSSIA’S arms deal with Fiji, breakdown in US fish treaty negotiations, ban of Facebook in Nauru, leaking of confidential embassy cables and growing Chinese influence in the region were the key issues of discussions when American Ambassador in Fiji, Judith Cefkin sat down with our Group editor-in-chief SAMISONI PARETI for an interview at the American Embassy in Suva last month.

Last month marks Ambassador Cefkin’s first 12 months in her posting as President Barack Obama’s chief diplomat in Fiji, Kiribati, Nauru, Tonga and Tuvalu. The full transcript of the interview can be found on www. islandsbusiness.ccom, but here are excerpts: Fiji’s FJ$19m (US$9m) deal to purchase arms from Russia: Of course we noted with interest those developments, but we really don’t want to comment and I think it’s best to refer those questions to the government of Fiji and the government of Russia.

Breakdown in multilateral fisheries treaty negotiations between the US and Pacific Island Forum members: We have an office in the US that comes under our environmental and science bureau that specialises in fisheries and they are the ones who are in the lead in terms of the talks, the negotiations. We are of course trying to make an effort to bring parties together, so we are having dialogue with the relevant authorities.

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