No New Approach from CMAG Meeting, But Possibly One Positive
At its meeting in London on 28 April, the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group (CMAG) had this to say on Fiji. The CMAG:
- “Regretted the lack of progress … towards restoring civilian constitutional democracy in Fiji”
- Expressed concern about the “continued imposition of the Public Emergency Regulation (PER), and noted in particular the significant number of reported incidents of arbitrary arrest, torture and ill-treatment ….”
- Urged the Fiji government to “engage, in good faith and without delay, in efforts toward an inclusive, independent and unrestricted national dialogue on Fiji’s political future. “
- “Welcomed the Commonwealth’s on-going efforts to engage with the Government of Fiji and other stakeholders … and reaffirmed the Commonwealth’s readiness to provide assistance to Fiji in appropriate ways on its path back to civilian constitutional democracy, as well as respect for human rights and the rule of law.”
- “CMAG noted the discussions held between the Government of Fiji and the Pacific Islands Forum Ministerial Contact Group in Port Vila, Vanuatu, on 14 February 2011, and welcomed the invitation extended to that Group by the Government of Fiji to visit the country in the near future. CMAG further noted the meeting of leaders of the Melanesian Spearhead Group held on 31 March 2011, and that Group’s support for on-going Commonwealth engagement with Fiji. CMAG reaffirmed the Commonwealth’s continued commitment to working in close co-operation and consultation with bilateral, regional and international partners in relation to the Fiji situation.
In other words, nothing changed. The meeting was attended by the Foreign Ministers of most Commonwealth countries including Australia’s Kevin Rudd and NZ’s Murray McCully. Fiji, of course, was not represented.
The only “positive” is in the last paragraph: the possibility of a visit to Fiji, and — if it includes the Melanesian Spearhead Group— the willingness to co-operate and consult.
If the group intends further co-operation with Australia and NZ, that in this context are protagonists, one hopes the CMAG will jolly them along and not wait for ever for them to initiate a new approach to the resolution of the Fiji situation.