Fiji lobbies neighbours for the new Pacific Forum

Fiji has for the first time confirmed that it is lobbying Pacific Island neighbours in the lead-up to a meeting in Australia to discuss possible restructure of the Pacific Islands Forum.

The confirmation came in the form of a media statement released in Suva last weekend by the Fijian Government Department for Information.

It said Fiji's Foreign Minister Ratu Inoke Kubuabola had travelled to the Tongan capital, Nuku'alofa to meet the Kingdom's newest Prime Minister, 'Akilisi Pohiva.

In addition to conveying “the Fijian Government's congratulations to Prime Minister Pohiva and his Government on their successful elections,” Ratu Inoke reportedly “also shared concerns regarding the Pacific regional architecture and expressed the Fijian Government's position on its reconfiguration.”

“Hon. Prime Minister Pohiva said that with his recent election, he is committed to transforming national and regional issues,” the Fijian Department of Information statement added.

“The meeting expressed the continuing desire by both governments to work with each other at all levels to further advance issues of common interests to both countries.”

The statement also said that Prime Minister Pohiva would visit Fiji in the near future.

Australia is convening a special summit of Pacific leaders of countries that are members of the Pacific Islands Forum in March probably to discuss “the regional architecture.”

It largely stems from Fiji's opposition of having Australia and New Zealand as members of the Forum, insisting that the Forum should be restricted to island countries only.

Apart from visiting Tonga, Ratu Inoke had also toured Vanuatu and Papua New Guinea recently.


SOURCE: ISLANDS BUSINESS
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