Pacific Ministers Fiji Visit

I don't know what happened to my original post. I tried to change the line spacing and it disappeared. So here's Graham Davis's take on the visit - Croz


Bob Carr in Suva after the MCG talks
Australia’s Foreign Minister, Bob Carr, is among a delegation from the Pacific Forum that wound up a day-long series of consultations in Suva today with the Fiji Government, opposition figures, non-government organisations, trade unions and other civil groups. The communique below acknowledges, for the first time, that the Bainimarama regime is serious about holding elections in 2014 and has a cogent plan to deliver them. Unfortunately, it doesn’t signal any immediate change in the Forum’s hard line stance against Fiji. So called “smart sanctions” will continue to apply and Fiji will continue to be suspended from the Forum. Much will depend on the written report that the Ministerial Contact Group eventually produces for consideration at the next meeting of Forum leaders in the Cooks Islands in August.
1st May 2012
1. The Pacific Islands Forum Ministerial Contact Group (MCG) concluded its visit to Fiji today.
2. The MCG thanked Fiji for making officials available for meetings. The MCG considered the exchanges and briefing useful for bringing them up to date on developments in Fiji.
3. The MCG also met with Fijian politicians and representatives of civil society and unions, and welcomed their perspectives which have contributed to the MCG’s understanding of the situation in Fiji. Written submissions were also received.
4. Ministers said they were encouraged by the steps taken by Fiji on election planning, as well as by information provided about Fiji’s intentions. These gave Ministers a sense that Fiji was a country in transition, moving to put in place processes required for elections. In particular, the MCG welcomed assurances from Fiji that:
The process under way will lead to elections by September 2014;
The constitutional consultation process will be open to all;
There will be no media restrictions in relation to the constitutional consultation process;
The elections will be free and fair;
There will be no parliamentary seats reserved for the military.
5. The public consultation process leading to the establishment of a new constitution will be closely observed by the international community. The interim Acting Prime Minister and several officials have asserted it will be inclusive, fair and open. The MCG believes the process must be accompanied by freedom of association, freedom of speech and freedom for media. This would allow Ministers to consider recommending to Leaders that incremental steps be taken to allow Fiji to participate in some Forum meetings.
6. Ministers reaffirmed Forum Leaders’ long standing offer to support Fiji’s early return to parliamentary democracy, including through the provision of appropriate assistance, consistent with the Forum’s underlying principles and values for respect for democracy, good governance and the rule of law.
7. The MCG will provide a report to Forum Leaders in the coming weeks on the positive progress Fiji has made and the further important steps they believe are required. Based on their continuing engagement, the MCG Ministers will provide a further update to Leaders at the time of their meeting in Rarotonga.
8. Ministers affirm the Forum’s intention to remain engaged and look forward to further progress in Fiji and continued constructive dialogue with Fiji.
9. Participants in the MCG visit were Hon. Murray McCully, Minister of Foreign Affairs of New Zealand, Senator the Hon. Bob Carr, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Australia, Hon. Ano Pala, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Immigration of Papua New Guinea, Hon. Fiame Naomi Mata’afa, Minister of Justice of Samoa, Hon. Apisai Ielemia, Minister for Foreign Affairs, Trade, Tourism, Environment and Labour of Tuvalu and Hon. Alfred Carlot, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Vanuatu.


Spin and more spin said…
Nice spin Croz. Gives new meaning to the terms 'misinformation' and 'disinformation'. The reality is of course, that the junta, represented by khaiyum, was well and truly given the respect is deserves. And appropriately bluntly.
What?? said…
"Spin or no spin", what on earth are you on about? This is a straight report on the MCG communique. I keep re-reading it and can't find any spin at all.
Anonymous said…
I see the illegal AG and 'acting PM' is still moaning about who they saw and talked to. So that hasn't changed.Perhaps he would rarther just draw up a list of 'approved cronies and supporters' to speak for the nation?
Paula said…
Apparently the Acting PM detected a lack of respect for the Fiji regime. He may have a point there. Personally, I have not come across many who would pay respect to a dictatorship. A system that is based on threats of violence (by the military) and fear on the side of the 'subjects' can never expect to be respected by those it cannot threaten. And McCully and Carr most certainly fall into this category. What we saw is the beginning of an exercise in realpolitik, aimed to limit the moves the regime can make in the forthcoming constitutional process. This is a very good thing as the moaning of the AG confirms.
Aam Aadmi said…
This group saw acceptance of Bainimarama's government in Fiji. They saw no signs of any protest.
Anonymous said…
@Aam? there were no protest that i recall while Qarase was in government either, all that 'endemic corrution' and all that 'racism' and i don't really recall any peoples movement marching down the streets of suva complaining... so is that your measure? as long as people aren't protesting it means we are all supporting the regime?? So why would the regime need so many bodyguards and require immunity??
Dignity said…
I mean really guys... this guy Bob Carr, an unelected senator talking about elections in Fiji!! He represents the Australian Labour Party... the worst government in the history of arrogant and a very condasending character no better than the guy he repalced. His government with botched Green Loan Scheme, Disastrous home insulation scheme, no carbon tax, current MPS in sex scandal and the list goes on and on and even the Australian people are sikck and tired of them. The recent Queensland election results is a good indicator of what the people think of the current labour government. My point being do we need this kind of people telling the Fijian people how to run their show.
Anonymous said…
@ yes Dignity, it is a little hard to have respect in the region where you reject outright any opinion that doesn't slavishly adhere to the policies of the military regime and then go begging for help. Fiji has it's own issues it has caused itself, noone has any obligation to you, at all.

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