#header-inner img {margin: 0 auto !important; #header-inner {text-align: Center ;} Fiji Coupfourpointfive: Australian envoy sent packing after Melanesian summit cancelled

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Australian envoy sent packing after Melanesian summit cancelled

Another Australian diplomat is being sent home as the Fiji military government hits out after the cancellation of the Melanesian Spearhead Group.

Australia's acting high commissioner Sarah Roberts has been told she will be served with a "persona non grata" and will be given 24 hours to leave the country.

Foreign Minister Stephen Smith says the decision to expel Roberts was "unjustified and unjustifiable".

But he says Fiji's remaining senior diplomat in Australia will not be dismissed in retaliation.

"If I responded in kind, that would see Fiji unrepresented in Australia and would effectively see the end of our formal diplomatic contact."

The BBC says it's unclear why Fiji took the latest action, but Smith said Suva was angry with Canberra because of disagreements over scheduled meetings of various Pacific island political groups.

The Stuff website in New Zealand has been more direct saying it was because Australia would not support the summit meeting of the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG).

New Zealand has also refused to support the meeting but it is not known whether Suva will act again against Wellington.

Bainimarama had touted the MSG summit later this month as a counter-point to the Pacific Forum 16-nation summit that has suspended Fiji's membership.

The MSG takes in the Melanesian nations of Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, Vanuatu and the Melanesian political party in the French territory of New Caledonia.

Bainimarama had persuaded several Polynesian nations to attend the summit and claimed it was to counter the domination of Australia and New Zealand in the forum.

But he got a rude awakening from the prime minister of Samoa, Sailele Tuilaepa Malielegaoi, who penned the following letter:

Dear Interim Prime Minister

re: Invitation to be an Observer at the Melanesian Spearhead Group Meeting – July 21-23, 2010

I refer to your letter of 24 May, 2010 faxed to my office on 6 July with your invitation to attend the MSG Meeting of Leaders in Suva, Fiji.

I was given to understand that the advice to the Ministerial Contact Group meeting in Auckland at the end of May, by your representative, was that only those non-MSG countries that had indicated a wish to attend would be invited. I had not expressed any such wish. On the contrary, when the media asked me sometime ago if I would attend if invited, my reply was no.

I am afraid that nothing has happened since that has given me any reason to reconsider my decision.

Now that your invitation has come, I wish to let you know that as one of the long serving and senior members of the Pacific Islands Forum, I am afraid that I do not, in all sincerity, feel that it would be right for me to accept your invitation.

An invitation for non-MSG Pacific leaders to an MSG Leaders Meeting has never been made before to my knowledge. Samoa certainly has not been invited previously.

That non-MSG countries were not invited was a state of affairs that made sense to me, as the MSG members would wish to use their meeting to discuss issues pertinent to them. Very importantly the MSG also brought any issues to the Pacific Islands Forum that the MSG felt was of wider interest to the Forum. This is the relationship and practice which has enabled sub-regional groups and the Pacific Islands Forum to exist side by side and work together as well as allowed the latter to retain primary status in our Pacific region.

For the MSG meeting about to be hosted in Fiji, I would imagine that the MSG members, as done in the past, will bring to the attention of the Pacific Islands Forum any issues from its meeting that they feel the Forum should also consider.

The above said, I want to take this opportunity to again continue to plead and encourage you to quickly return Fiji to Parliamentary democracy and allow the people of Fiji their freedoms and rights.

Your sincerely
Tuilaepa Lupesoliai Sailele Malielegaoi

Source C4, BBC and Stuff.co.nz

Pictures: Top Stephen Smith. Bottom: Tuilaepa


sara'ssista said...

As usual, fiji has it back to friont and wrong way up , presuming wrongly that fij and nz don't also have th patience to wait them out also. We are in no hurry, as the 'suffering' was brought on by the military , no-one else and we still get our cheap holidays...so really everything is fine with us . The idea that we have to go 'cap in hand' to a military thug who only gained power through a senile ratu and his men in green's forceful takeover of democratic institutions, is laughable. But we are happy to assist those that do the same to him, then we can sit down and find a way. But now, not likley.Have the guts to ban Aus and Nz altogether and see how you fare with chinese tourists !! Yes lets see who needs who.

Radiolucas said...

@ 11:13am

Agreed. Bainimarama loves to act like a big man but he keeps tripping over his own incompetance - behaving like a petulant child everytime he doesnt get his own way - everything he does is predicated on a reaction to something:

1. Rule of law finds against him - replace all the judiciary;

2. Public service doesn't listen to him - replace the public service with military officers;

3. Newspapers publish news reports - ban the newpapers;

4. The truth comes out - censor the truth and replace all news with his own version of the truth;

5. International governments voice concerns with his actions - ban other governments.

The problem is that at some point Bainimarama will have to ban everyone else except for himself.

So I think that we should make a special island for him to live on - say Nukulau - that he can make all the rules for. It can have its own newspaper, its own public service, its own economy and it will work because noone else will care about what he does - it should be perfect.

Well done Samoa said...

Looks like the democratically elected leader of Samoa got it right again?
He is just making fun and laughing at the goosestepping dictator destroying Fiji.
All the Pacific nations are moving forward while Fiji continues to slide backwards under the imbecilic poorly led Fiji military.
Congratultations Samoa on your well deserved win in the World 7s as well!!

Anonymous said...

Boy if this upsets him - what's he going to be like when the really bad news starts arriving?

sara'ssista said...

fortunately the only thing this illegal regime can do is expel, that's it. there is nothing else that can be done by them unless they would like to ban all australians and nzlanders??? go ahead, have some spine an do just that, as if we would care we will just go to vanuatu for hols.

Anonymous said...

Well said PM Samoa. When you answer Bainimarama's childish rubbish with matter-of-act truth, he an his cronies are lost to answer you. They only know how to criticize and attack other people. Kudo to you and your country. May you also win the 15 World cup next year. Impossible? So did a lot people think when David took on Goliath! Amen!