Thursday, February 25, 2010
Interview and new threats cause confusion
It was caused by an interview the interim prime minister, Frank Bainimarama, gave the Auckland based radio station, Tarana, this week where he said he would not allow the re-appointment of New Zealand and Australian high commissioners for two years unless the travel bans were lifted.
The comment caused some people to think Fiji was backing out of the agreement with New Zealand to reopen respective diplomatic missions in Suva and Wellington.
Those plans were announced by Bainimarama's own Foreign Affairs minister, Ratu Inoke Kubuabola, and the New Zealand Foreign Affairs Minister, Murray McCully, last weekend after their meeting in Suva.
Kubuabola and McCully (that's them above) both said the meeting was aimed at strengthening staffing in the respective missions and that both missions would reopen next month with First Secretaries and Acting Heads of Missions in place.
As foreign ministers, their statements carried some muscle but thanks to Bainimarama's interview (where he said talks about the diplomatic missions were a minor part of the discussions) and renewed threats to pull Fiji out of the Commonwealth yesterday, many were left thinking there had been a U-turn or dramatic developments as we say in news circles.
McCully has today said the plans to re-open the missions continue and shouldn't be under threat. Let's hope that's the case.
Bainimarama has also said that Kubuabola is doing the talking for Fiji at the moment with New Zealand. Let's hope he lets him do that.