Fiji put on last warning!!!!

 Bloggers, the South Pacific Forum has now thrown down the gauntlet to Vore. They have challenged him to abide by his undertaking in Tonga or face suspension. Vore’s claim that he was pressured has turned some of the leaders who were sympathetic to his cause against him because they in effect have called him a liar. He shots with his mouth when he has his goons around him, but folds, when he meets other leaders. SV urges the Military Council to take Vore out now and stop Fiji’s misery!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

The Pacific Islands Forum leaders today issued an ultimatum to Fiji – either get with the elections earlier promised for March of next year, or get suspended from the Forum.

The leaders said they were committed to assisting a political dialogue process in Fiji, but it had to be complementary to elections as promised at last year’s meeting in Tonga. Niue Premier and newly-elected Forum chair, Toke Talagi, said the decision to discipline Fiji is consistent with provisions of the Biketawa Declaration. “What’s important is to send out a very strong statement to Fiji on the credibility and integrity of the Forum. The Forum is not a body to be ignored,” said Talagi.He brushed aside claims Australia and New Zealand had pushed for the decision to consider expulsion. 


The Forum intends to hold a special meeting in Papua New Guinea in December where they will decide on whether or not Fiji has met the demands of their ultimatum and can remain within the group. Talagi said the Forum hopes not to isolate Fiji, but to re-engage with Fiji through a political dialogue yet to be put in place.

20 Responses to “Fiji put on last warning!!!!”

  1. ex Fiji Tourist Says:

    By Kerri Ritchie in Niue

    Posted 1 hour 18 minutes ago

    Fiji says it is angry and disappointed that Pacific leaders are threatening to suspend the country from the Pacific Islands Forum.

    Fiji’s interim Prime Minister, Frank Bainimarama, has been under fire for refusing to honour his promise to hold elections by March next year.

    Fifteen leaders from the Pacific, including Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, have agreed to suspend Fiji from the forum if it does not hold elections as promised.

    Mr Rudd says other Pacific leaders were keen to take a “hardline” approach with Fiji.

    “They’ve had it up to here with this guy, right up to here, he’s been given 18 months,” he said.

    “What we’ve seen is him go backwards from that commitment, not forwards.

    “The view in the room was decidedly hardline in sending a clear message to the interim Fijian Government with a clear distinction that when it comes to the people of Fiji, that the mood of this family of nations and democracies in the wider Pacific region, is that we’d like them back as soon as possible.

    Mr Rudd is believed to have penned the final communique.

    “I made some changes to various drafts. It was a combined effort. The resolve was to have a united message,” he said.

    Fiji’s interim Foreign Minister, Ratu Epeli Nailatikau, has said in a statement Fiji is angry at the result.

    He has accused Australia and New Zealand of misusing the forum.

  2. Jese Waqalekaleka Says:

    Well Vore, the game is up. The Forum now will take a hard line and this will extend to all appointees as well. About time, but at least it is now working.

    Qarase’s letter must have had some impact and they will be rejoicing.

    I only hope that if the SDL do come back to power, that Qarase now selects people on merit who have the nations interest at heart and not give them portfolios because of their name.

    If anything is to be learnt from this unfortunate saga is that it is an opportunity to start afresh and apply good governance and transparency in government because the people of Fiji need a good government to steer it towards a better and brighter future.

  3. IslandBoy Says:

    The difference in opinion between the Forum Leaders and Toke Talagi as their spokesman and our own Min For Aff seems to hang on their respective interpretations of the Biketawa Declaration.

    Are there PIFS staff or regional journos here on SV able to help out by shedding more light.

    Not to disbelieve our own guy, but it seems unlikely that the entire Forum Leaders meeting with their rafts of technocrats would collectively get it wrong and Rt Epeli and Ross get it right.

  4. Jese Waqalekaleka Says:

    My Tau, this is taken from the Forum Secretariat website and explains the gist of the Biketawa Declaration. Hope it helps with your query.

    Security In April 2004, Forum Leaders identified good governance and security as two of the four key goals of the Forum. The Political and Security programme works on a range of issues in pursuit of these goals.

    To be sustainable, development must occur within an environment of regional security and political integrity to ensure that the impact of development policies effectively leads to free and worthwhile lives for the people of the region.

    The Political and Security programme promotes Forum interests and positions in the international arena and provides policy advice and technical assistance to members on international relations, law enforcement cooperation, political, legal and security issues.

    The main focuses of the programme includes:

    • Legal matters, especially legal sector cooperation and the implementation of the legislative priorities of the Honiara Declaration on Law Enforcement Cooperation and the Nasonini Declaration on Regional Security, Auckland Declaration and Kalibobo Roadmap in accordance with the Pacific Plan. The programme provides legal drafting assistance to Forum Islands countries to help them implement the legislative priorities;

    • Monitoring of regional political developments in member countries, building capacity in conflict prevention and response, and conducting election observer missions to Forum Island Countries. Most recently, observer missions were deployed to the Solomon Islands and Fiji general elections in 2006;

    • Biketawa Declaration: signed in Biketawa, Kiribati in 2000, the Biketawa Declaration is a security framework building on a number of other frameworks dating back to the Honiara Declaration of 1994. There are several key features of the Biketawa Declaration that make it unique to the region. These include its commitment to upholding democratic processes and good governance, its recognition of indigenous rights and cultural values and the process for addressing crises in the region. The Biketawa Declaration has been invoked twice since its promulgation in 2000, in Solomon Islands (RAMSI) and in Nauru (PRAN). Three successful election observer missions in the region – Bougainville, Solomon Islands and Fiji – have also been undertaken under this framework.

    • Building the capacity of law enforcement agencies to combat transnational crime such as border management issues, data collection and anti-money laundering mentoring.
    • Implementation of the Pacific Islands Regional Security Technical Cooperation Strategy.

    • Supporting the annual meeting of the Forum Leaders and other high level meetings involving Forum Leaders;

    • Supporting the Forum Regional Security Committee annual meeting, last held in June 2006, and implementing the recommendations of this meeting.

    The Political and Security Programme is comprised of the Manager, Legal Adviser, Regional Security Adviser, Law Enforcement Capacity Development Adviser, Political Issues Adviser, Legal Drafter, Legal Drafting Officer, Coordinator of the Pacific Anti-Money Laundering Programme (PALP), the Legal and Law Enforcement Mentors under the PALP, Political Research Assistant, Law Enforcement Support Officer and two Programme Assistants. The Programme will also be gaining the services of a Peace Building Conflict Prevention Technical Specialist.

    For further information please call the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat on telephone number: (679) 3312 600 or fax us on (679) 330 5554 Political & Security


    Home | Partners | Vacancies | Contact Us | Staff Email ©2008 Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat Newsroom About Us Documents Economic Growth Sustainable Development Good Governance Security Contact us Press Statements Speeches E-Bulletins Pacific Fuel Price Monitor Monthly Radio Report Feature Articles Niu Pasifika About us Vision Statement The Pacific Plan Trade Offices Employment Opportunites Member Countries Conference Centre Library Financial Statements Photo Gallery Search all Economic Growth Sustainable Development Good Governance Security Communiques and Other Documents Economic Growth Regional Trade International Trade Private Sector PACREIP Aviation ICT Energy Economic Growth Work Programme Sustainable Development NSDS Environment and Resources Social Policy Social Research Disability Regional Skills Development Study Education Gender Strategic Partnerships European Development Fund Aid Effectiveness Funding Assistance Internships & Scholarships Smaller Island States Good Governance Governance Partners Security Political and Security PALP

  5. Tim Says:

    So when December comes, and Frank is still pondering his belly button, he can’t exactly moan when the screws are tightened.
    There are a couple of things in the Declaration that are justification for tighter sanctions (e.g. the crime, the money laundering – foreign banks are involved). That is of course aside from each sovereign nation’s right to determine what they do.
    Frank still doesn’t get it though. Still, ya get that with monkeys and organ grinders.
    I see Shamimee has broken her silence by deigning to comment on the helicopter crash. How magnanimous of her. We’re all very impressed.
    Bubbs – time to break yours and let us all know how the junta is right and everyone else are just being big bullies.

  6. ex Fiji Tourist Says:

    Has anybody noticed how bananasinpyjamas hasn’t said a word in public for the last few days?

    Maybe he is recovering after the effects of the recent full moon.

    Or maybe he is sh*t scared about what is happening.

  7. qitawa Says:

    SO WHAT HAPPENS NOW???If there is no elections by March 2009 there will be a forum military force invading Fiji? One thing is for sure when the green guys here about it they will certainly go on a rampage and go after anybody they know or suspect to be against them. Or will they surrender? Iraq is an example of what can happen when things go wrong.

  8. FijiGirl Says:

    Huge applause to Mr Qarase for his letter to the Forum leaders and reminding them that we, the people of Fiji, are ruled by an illegal military regime.

    God bless Fiji

  9. ex Fiji Tourist Says:

    @ qitawa

    The only green goons with a will to continue with their failed campaign against Fijians is the upper officer corp who have all benefited financially from excessive back leave pay outs,

    The rest of the losers would publicly shit themselves if they had to face a hostile force,

    But, it won’t come to this as the Pacific Forum nations will deal with the Fijian govt in exile when the time comes. They will have already made preparations for bananasinpyjamas and his fools to be eliminated by the military before the intervention commences.

  10. ex Fiji Tourist Says:

    Has anybody seen bananasinpyjamas today?

    Has he been taken out by the military already?

  11. newsfiji Says:

    I thank God bainipyjamas did not go to the meeting in Niue.

    After all it was only for elected/constitutional leaders and not bloody military dictators who rose to power through the barrel of a gun crying…too much corruption with bloody conman Peter Foster as a witness..ha..ha..what a bloody good laugh…

    Ex FT: i hear that bainipyjamas knows that his services are no longer required and that he has deviated from the original plan of cleaning out corruption.

    It’s time to go! Back to Kiuva village – where he has no “qare”.


  12. Pressiesecretary Says:

    He is plotting to go to the Presidential Office, bloggers!!!!!!! I hear the doses are being increased on the sedated President – but he must remember Musharaf of Pakistan, the land of the Shameem sisters

  13. Abeche Says:

    SV _ I agree entirely with you that we must now urge the Mil Co to something.

    We must appeal to them to take control of the situation as FB has totally lost the plot; the economy is in a bloody mess – thanks to FB’s mate, confidant and ‘go to man’ the recently fired snake; social problems are increasing because of the snake’s financial incompetence; water and road services are in an even worse mess then ever because the capital injection that is required is still sitting pretty in Governments coffers, thanks again to the snake’s stupidy in collecting the taxes and saying that government’s finances are more stable – so the funds are sitting there earning nothing because of the level of liquidity in the economy – when it should have been sent right out to fix capital projects creating employment, more taxes for government and improving people’s lives and ensuring that government’s tax base is increased, (we should note that the increase in tax being flouted by FIRCA (which the snake has been crowing about) is due directly to the collection of prior years taxes and the overall increase in prices, so if no new businesses are created to generate new income streams for the government, then overall tax will begin to decrease on a relative basis by next year given the low projected growth in GDP; the list of ills facing us goes on and on.

    On top of this is there is ‘clear and present danger ‘to quote Tom Clancy’s novel that the Fijian (or the indigenous – as they are called now) people’s patience has reached the limit of their tolerance. Forthcoming changes in the Methodist church, the strengthening of ties amongst all the Christian churches, the remembered insults and scorn that FB poured on the Fijian institutions and chiefs together with the issues mentioned above makes for a toxic mix that will soon lead to peaceful confrontation at first.

    The Mil Co must not make the mistake that because the initial confrontation is peaceful to mean that they can bully the churches and the vanua as they did in 2006. I believe that this will be a grave mistake if they made this assessment and this error and will lead to bloodshed. If the Mil CO is not careful, we will soon see Fijian soldiers pointing guns at Fijian protestors which maybe the tipping point in all this. At this point two things may happen – one, the soldiers may not shoot their own people, in which case there is a real possibility that they will join the protestors – has happened in the past in other countries, in which case the soldiers may turn on their own leaders – the Mil Co and they (the Mil Co) lose control; or secondly, they will shoot their own people, blood is shed, the protest then spreads to other centers and more Fijians go on the street and the churches lose control of their people; Indians become targets, houses get burnt; elements in society that thrive on chaos have a field day in escalating the problems. The Mil Co should not depend on the Police to come to their assistance in upholding the law – they the Military) have demoralized the police to the extent that morale is at an all time low and the MIL CO LOSE CONTROL too in this scenario. Either way they are in a lose-lose situation.

    SO I support SV’s note that we appeal to the Mil Co to do the right thing and get FB out and regain control of the country. As it is I have personally forgiven Frank and the snake for their treasonous act and lay the full blame on the ills of this country on the hands of the Mil Co for without their support, these fools would not have dared to do what they have done. Get some pride back, begin to act like the men you guys are supposed to be, start calling a spade a spade before you lose total control. Regain the initiative and do not underestimate the resolve amongst the Fijian people who you now call ‘indigenous, a term I grew thinking referred mostly to the ‘flora and fauna’ of a country.

    Finally before I forget, make sure that you stop the snake chaudhry – his wives and son and his wife from leaving the country, if you can’t do what we are asking you to do about FB, at least do this for the snake keep him here so that he does not run away from the mess he has created -do not let him outfox you again as he had done after you guys delivered his termination letter!!

    It is time for you indigenous men in the Mil Co to act decisively and DO THE RIGHT THING for the future of your people!

  14. Mark Manning Says:

    Here we go again , blaming the white fellas for Fiji’s woes !
    A typical and predictable response from an increasingly desperate Commander .
    But he need look no further than his own mirror to see who has created the poverty and downturn in the Fijian economy .
    Be a man Frank and shoulder the responsibility for the things which you and your cronnies have created and stop blaming Australia and New Zealand , you bully and coward of a man .

  15. IslandBoy Says:

    @Jese Waqalekaleka – thanks a million Tau, I could have looked on the PIFS site myself, but was hoping that we might have a leg to stand on with someone else’s interpretation – guess not! Time to fasten seat belts – look like storm clouds and severe turbulence ahead.

  16. Adi Kaila Says:

    IB – piggys no show atoll could also because he may have been under pressure at the coronation to get Fiji back to normal asap – there was definitely a frigid atmosphere whenever he showed up. It was so obvious that everyone had just had enough of him and didn’t want him around.

    Instead of taking the honourable stand and either handing the government back to SDL and the real Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase or following up with the promises he made last year for elections next year he has well and truly lost face.

    What a boar – sorry boor! Honour and loss of face are emotions he doesn’t comprehend as he has shown not only to the Fijian Nation but to the rest of the Pacific.

    The worry though is his cosying up with the China. Is Fiji about to be a dumping ground for their undesirables? As if we don’t have enough to deal with.

    Every morning I wake up I am hoping today is the day the ig is obliterated and Fiji can smile it’s ‘ipana smile’ again without fear.

    Now say your prayers and go to bed like a good boy IB. Sweet dreams.

    Let’s all keep smiling and stay hopeful – it doesn’t cost anything.

  17. Islander Says:

    Hang in there guys, our deliverance draweth nigh.

    Adi Kaila the morning that you and many of us await is at the door. We just need to keep the pressure up and hang in there and freedom from this illegal junta will soon come to an end.

    As for China, if FB knows what’s good for him, let alone Fiji – he wouldn’t be so quick to hop in to bed with the dragon.

  18. nella Says:

    totoka na i tukutuku mai Niue!

    Kevin silent game pays off at Pacific forum
    Michael McKenna | August 22, 2008

    KEVIN Rudd faced one of his biggest tests as the most powerful ratu in the region at yesterday’s Pacific Island Forum — to remain silent.

    The former career diplomat had been told to expect “long moments of thoughtful reflection” at the closed leaders’ retreat and to resist the temptation to speak up and fill the void.

    Diplomacy, Pacific-style, is usually a circuitous, non-confrontational exchange, but the 15 leaders, including elder statesman, Papua New Guinea’s Michael Somare, knew the time for small talk had ended over Fiji’s military man, Frank Bainimarama. Rudd was the man with the plan.

    After years of Australia being accused of megaphone diplomacy, Rudd had to wait his turn as each leader — seated in a circle of leather chairs, especially brought in from New Zealand — gave their opinion on how to revive democracy in Fiji.

    Over three hours, an unusually robust debate ensued in the small conference room of the Matavi resort, perched high on a cliff of the tiny atoll nation.

    Giving new meaning to “vacation diplomacy”, the scenic setting moved the 37-year-old forum on to new ground.

    For the first time, a tiny clause in the forum’s framework was invoked — at the urging of Rudd — to threaten Bainimarama, an eleventh-hour no-show, to fulfil his commitment at last year’s meeting to hold elections next March or Fiji would be suspended from the regional group.

    Leaders such as Somare are worried about setting a precedent of regional inaction to a military coup; others fear the forum’s legitimacy is at stake.

    While observers speculated about further sanctions, Rudd looked to the lessons in the ousting of Solomon Islands leader Manasseh Sogavare, rolled by his own MPs weeks after snubbing the forum last year.

    On Monday, while in Auckland, Rudd aired the idea of a possible suspension of Fiji’s membership to the forum with his New Zealand counterpart, Helen Clark. The veteran leader got on board.

    Rudd wasn’t sure early yesterday that his plan would fly.

    At first, the minnow nations of Kiribati and Tuvalu were hesitant. Then Somare began his push in support of Rudd, who has been careful since taking office to show the respect he felt John Howard failed to.

    Eventually consensus began to build behind Rudd, Somare and Clark. Then Rudd, ever the diplomat, took over. With notepad at hand, he wrote out the wording of the pointed threat of suspension that was signed off just after midday by the leaders.

    Now, only time will tell if the pen is mightier than Bainimarama’s sword.,25197,24221698-5013871,00.html

    Fiji and the Pacific Islands Summit
    Not being Frank with us

    Aug 21st 2008 | NADI, FIJI
    From The Economist print edition
    Relief as Fiji’s prime minister (and armed-forces chief) stays at home

    FRANK BAINIMARAMA, Fiji’s globe-trotting coup-leader, has just come back from visiting the Beijing Olympics, the pope in Rome and the United Nations in New York. But he missed this week’s annual summit of the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) in Niue, one of 13 island microstates which, with Papua New Guinea (PNG), Australia and New Zealand, make up the PIF. Mr Bainimarama blames his no-show on New Zealand’s refusal to give him more than a transit visa to pass through Auckland airport (enforcing a travel ban imposed after the coup in December 2006). More likely, Mr Bainimarama stayed at home to avoid rebukes for reneging on the commitment he made at last year’s PIF summit in Tonga to hold elections by March 2009.

    The absence of Mr Bainimarama was a relief to Australia and New Zealand. It made it easier to persuade other PIF leaders to agree to threaten Fiji with suspension from the Forum unless the election is held as scheduled. In other ways, too, the gulf between the region’s minnows and its two big fish seems to be narrowing. The PIF’s ambitious “Pacific Plan” for enhanced regional integration, announced with great gusto in 2005, no longer evokes much enthusiasm. Pressure to free merchandise trade is seen as benefiting Australia and New Zealand, which run big trade surpluses with the rest of the region, rather than the small island states that trade little with each other.

    For the poorer countries of Melanesia, where bulges in the populations of young people threaten social unrest, the freer movement of labour is more enticing. New Zealand began a guest-worker scheme last year, but John Howard, Australia’s prime minister at the time, flatly rejected opening the doors to unskilled Pacific labour. But since taking office last December, Australia’s new Labor government has announced a seasonal labour scheme for the fruit-picking industry, to be open to PNG, Vanuatu, Kiribati and Tonga. Fiji, however, is to be excluded.

    Another reason for Mr Bainimarama to stay at home is that he has just taken over the finance ministry, after sacking the incumbent, Mahendra Chaudhry. The economy contracted by 6.6% in 2007 and still looks weak. And the departure of Mr Chaudhry, the leader of Fiji’s ethnic Indians, raises political questions. Until now, the army takeover has been strongly opposed by indigenous Fijians, who make up 57% of the population, but largely backed by the Indians (38%). Mr Chaudhry’s departure leaves Mr Bainimarama with even fewer allies, at home and abroad.

    Pacific Beat
    KERRI RITCHIE: The Premier of Niue Toke Talagi said there was a lot of discussion in the room where leaders met this morning. He read out the communiqu� and this crucial line.

    TOKE TALAGI: The measures to be considered may include the suspension of particular governments from the forum.

    KERRI RITCHIE: This is the first time the “S” word has ever been used by the forum in relation to Fiji.

    TOKE TALAGI: And can I make the point that we haven’t decided on suspension as yet and the decision that Fiji takes is entirely up to Fiji at the present time. We would certainly like Fiji to maintain contact and to return to democratic government, as indicated by the communiqu�, as quickly as possible.

    KERRI RITCHIE: The Australian Government is happy with the outcome. New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark did the talking. She says Pacific Island countries were unanimous in their support for a tough line against Fiji.

    HELEN CLARK: The leaders are very offended by that. They’ve also signalled that they’re not going to just let the issue drop, that they did accept undertakings in good faith, that there is no technical, administrative, managerial reason why elections can’t be held by the end of March next year. Only political will is lacking.

    KERRIE RITCHIE: She says Fiji needs to listen carefully.

    REPORTER: Do you think this will be a strong enough message to change Commodore Bainimarama’s mind?

    HELEN CLARK: It’s a very strong message and the ball now is really in his court as to how he reacts. This is very much about the Pacific Island Forum leaders assuming leadership of this issue.

    KERRI RITCHIE: No country has ever been suspended from the forum before. Fiji would be the first and it’s a real possibility if it doesn’t honour its promise to hold elections.

    Coup leader Frank Bainimarama has accused Australia and New Zealand of bullying him. Miss Clark says the Commodore has read it wrong. Fiji gets a significant amount of aid from China. Helen Clark signalled Frank Bainimarama could have bigger problems to worry about.

    HELEN CLARK: The problem is that he’s not only ruled out and election by March 2009, he actually has no timetable for elections at any time. So there’s just not a willingness on his part up until now to look at any timetable.

    Now that’s completely unacceptable and there remains, in the view of the ministerial contact group which after all this in Fiji only a couple of weeks ago, that there is no technical, administrative, managerial reason for not holding these elections. The apparatus is there.

    REPORTER: Is there any post-forum dialogue with China? Will the forum be seeking China’s understanding for this?

    HELEN CLARK: I’m sure that the issue is going to arise, whether at the post-forum dialogue or in bi-laterals with China, but for the record let’s be clear that China likes order. China likes constitutional government and I don’t have any particular apprehension at all that China would not be supportive of the path taken by the forum.

    China’s support of Fiji does little for Fijians

    * Fergus Hanson
    * August 22, 2008

    In its attempt to keep Taiwan at bay, China is behaving irresponsibly.

    FIJI’S interim government is on the nose more than ever these days. The coup in December 2006 resulted in Western sanctions and travel bans, but the hope was that the coup leader’s commitment to holding elections by March 2009 would be met and we could all move on. Not any more, it would seem. Commodore Frank Bainimarama has reneged on his promise of elections and boycotted the Pacific’s most important summit currently taking place in Niue. While other countries have united to stymie Fiji’s interim regime, one has conspicuously offered a helping hand.

    A recent Lowy Institute report on China’s estimated aid program in the Pacific revealed that its pledged aid to Fiji had skyrocketed since the December 2006 coup. In 2005, it pledged $US1 million in aid and about $US23 million in 2006. But after the coup, pledges jumped to more than $US160 million in 2007.

    The governments of Fiji and China have both shown themselves to be remarkably sensitive to public revelations over China’s aid pledges. The permanent secretary of the Prime Minister’s Office in Fiji, Parmesh Chand, said the figures on pledged aid “are all wrong”. During a recent press conference, a spokesman for the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Beijing, Qin Gang, called the report “totally pointless and unacceptable”. Publication of the actual figures would obviously help clear up any misunderstanding, but both governments have so far refused to do this.

    All of which suggests a disturbing level of Chinese assistance to Fiji, right at a time when responsible governments around the world should be sending the strongest possible signals that the regime’s backpedalling is not on. It also suggests a double standard: how can Beijing complain about other countries interfering in its internal affairs when it intervenes so dramatically to prop up a dictatorship?

    Bainimarama clearly thinks he can ride out Western sanctions by relying on other funding sources. In a statement he released to this week’s Pacific Islands Forum, he wrote: “We will decide what is in our national interest at this juncture in our history … If we have to, we will seek assistance from outside the Pacific Forum and the Commonwealth.”

    So which countries might he have in mind? The United States? Japan? Unlikely. The same country that pledged more than $US160 million in aid to Fiji in 2007 would seem a more likely bet.

    This is not to say that Chinese aid is the only reason Fiji is stalling on its return to democracy, but it clearly isn’t helping. It also does nothing to support China’s claim it is promoting a “harmonious world” or its image as a responsible emerging power.

    So why would China choose to associate itself with such an insignificant pariah regime and expend diplomatic capital on a country of less than a million people with not much to offer by way of resources or strategic significance?

    As is so often the case in the Pacific, the primary motivation behind China’s aid program to Fiji seems to be a fear that the interim regime might switch to recognising Taiwan. Fiji is one of the few countries in the region that gets away with housing a Taiwanese trade office at the same time it pledges its undying fealty to the one-China policy and there are reports of high-level contacts between Fiji and Taiwanese officials. So as Western donors tightened the screws on Fiji in the wake of the coup, China must have been painfully aware that Taiwan would be the commodore’s next port of call, if it failed to cough up some serious aid money.

    China may have a motive for pledging large amounts of aid to Fiji, but that can hardly excuse its behaviour. If China is serious about promoting a harmonious world and being a responsible international actor, it cannot rely on everyone else to do all the heavy lifting.

    It would be easy for all regional donors to curry favour with the interim regime in Fiji, but that would have serious negative consequences for the region and its stability, let alone Fiji. For the outgoing Pacific Islands Forum chairman, Tongan Prime Minister Feleti Sevele, Fiji’s boycott of the summit was so serious it tested the very “strength and relevance of the forum”.

    As the Beijing Olympics have demonstrated, China clearly takes its national image seriously. There need to be more countries prepared to call on China to give responsibly in the Pacific (and elsewhere). Australia — as the region’s main donor and security underwriter — needs to take a lead role in getting China delivering aid according to accepted international standards.

    And China — even if it has to maintain some aid to stymie Taiwan’s efforts to get Fiji to switch its recognition from one China to the other — needs to ensure as little aid money gets through to the regime as possible.

    In a speech he gave in Fiji in 2006, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao said: “China has proved and will continue to prove itself to be a sincere, trustworthy and reliable friend and partner of the Pacific.” Unfortunately, China is proving itself a poor friend to the people of Fiji in their struggle to win back democracy.

    Fergus Hanson is a research associate at the Lowy Institute and author of two reports on Chinese aid to the Pacific.

    Leaders of Pacific grouping warn Fiji

    By Peter Smith in Alofi

    Published: August 21 2008 06:19 | Last updated: August 21 2008 06:19

    Leaders of Pacific island nations threatened to suspend Fiji from their regional grouping unless the country’s military leader proceeds with elections by next March.
    Fijian cloud hangs over Pacific talks – Aug-17
    Fiji military takes control of gold mine – Jan-08
    Fiji coup leader sworn in as premier – Jan-06
    Fiji seen as hunting ground for Iraq vacancies – Nov-07
    Australia and NZ ready troops to aid Tonga – Nov-17

    Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama, who took control of Fiji after a coup in 2006, has alienated neighbouring countries after his eleventh-hour decision to boycott the 39th Pacific Islands Forum on the island of Niue this week.

    Helen Clark, prime minister of New Zealand, said it was unprecedented for the leaders to consider suspending a member and compared Fiji’s situation with that of Robert Mugabe’s Zimbabwe. “It seems a little like the dance we went through with Zimbabwe at the Commonwealth,” she said. “The Commonwealth stuck to its guns and Mr Mugabe left rather than face his peers.”

    Commodore Bainimarama may have miscalculated the level of support from neighbouring countries, particularly Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands, which have not always enjoyed an easy relationship with Australia.

    “There was no one in there waving a flag for Fiji,” an official attending the leaders’ meeting said. The person added a number of leaders from the smaller countries were annoyed by Commodore Bainimarama’s behaviour, which had taken valuable time away from topics including climate change and sustainable development.

    Kiribati and Tuvalu, nations composed of low lying coral attols, are particularly at risk from rising sea levels. At the end of the meeting, the leaders agreed to work on climate change initiatives, including financial support for alternative renewable energy sources, and the promotion of labour mobility from the poorer nations to Australia and New Zealand.

    Australia and New Zealand, the two major aid donors among the 16 countries of the Pacific Islands Forum, have been vocal in their condemnation of Commodore Bainimarama and helped persuade some of the more conservative Pacific island nations to agree on a statement that threatens Fiji with suspension.

    Commodore Bainimarama was due to face tough questioning on his decision not to honour his promise to stage elections by March 2009, which he gave during the leaders’ conference in Tonga last year. Fiji’s record of human rights abuses, poor economic management and its diminished role as a regional hub were also expected to be under the spotlight.

    Commodore Bainimarama had earlier threatened to withdraw Fiji from the forum, whose secretariat is based in the Fijian capital, if it continued to oppose his plans to change the country’s electoral system.

    Ratu Epeli Nailatikau, Fiji’s interim foreign affairs minister, said the suspension threat was “inappropriate”.

    “[It] goes against the principle of inclusiveness and dialogue which is integral to the Pacific way,” he said.

    Mahendra Chaudhry, a former Fijian prime minister who quit as interim finance minister last week, said the forum’s status would be weakened without Fiji. “I myself had reservations about the usefulness of the forum. I see it largely as an organisation dominated by Australia and then by New Zealand,” he told the news website fijivillage.

    Toke Talagi, Niue premier and forum chairman, said a task force would be sent to Fiji to study the country’s progress towards returning to democracy. A report by a previous delegation of foreign ministers from a small number of Pacific island countries was critical of Commodore Bainimarama and disputed his claims that electoral reforms were needed in advance of an election.

    Commodore Bainimarama this week said it could be “at least” 12 to 15 months before elections could be held, indicating a delay until 2010 or later.

    There are concerns among some nations that tensions over Fiji could spill over into neighbouring states, many of which have fragile economies and are dependent on aid.

    PIF: Suspension Looms For Fiji Unless It Complies
    Friday, 22 August 2008, 9:18 am
    Article: John Andrews – Pacific Insights

    Suspension Looms For Fiji Unless It Complies With PIF Dictates

    Report and images by John Andrews in Niue

    Fiji faces possible suspension from the Pacific Islands forum if its interim government doesn’t allow a prompt return to democracy. Forum country leaders meeting in Niue issued a sternly worded communique today condemning the failure of Fiji to turn up at their annual summit.

    Click to enlarge Web-to-print by Zetaprints
    NZ PM Helen Clark and Australia’s PM Kevin Rudd at the PIF, Niue.
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    Click to enlarge Web-to-print by Zetaprints
    Pacific Islands Forum leaders show off their retreat attire.

    They consider the non-appearance of military leader, Commodore Frank Bainimarama, is “unacceptable”.

    In his capacity as the forum’s new chairman, Niue Premier Toke Talagi (pictured right), said none of the 14 leaders at their retreat called for Fiji’s immediate suspension.

    They wanted dialogue through the forum’s ministerial contact group to help persuade Fiji to allow democratic elections.

    But they resolved to hold a special meeting in Papua New Guinea’s Port Moresby in about three months’ time to discuss punitive measures, such as Fiji’s suspension, if negotiations proved fruitless.

    They declare: “The interim government should have attended to account for the undertakings given at the 2007 forum in Tonga to hold an election by March 2009, in accordance with Fiji’s existing constitution and electoral laws.”

    They say recent statements from Fiji’s interim government “are inconsistent with the undertakings provided to leaders at the 2007 forum regarding the holding of elections and a return to democracy.”

    They urge Fiji to demonstrate good faith by maintaining a relationship with the forum by resuming negotiations with the ‘Fiji-Forum Joint Working Group’.

    New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark said forum leaders were sending a very strong message, given they were prepared to consider Fiji’s suspension.

    Urging Commodore Bainimarama to think carefully, Ms Clark said Fiji had little prospect of restoring relations with important fund donors if it continued to refuse to engage with forum country members over a proper timetable for a return to democracy.

    Never before had the forum considered excluding a member from its council.

    Australia’s Prime Minister Kevin Rudd echoed Ms Clark’s sentiments, saying: “For the Pacific Islands forum to declare an unequivocal condemnation of Bainimarama, the interim prime minister of Fiji, is itself unprecedented.

    “And secondly, what is unprecedented, is for the first time the forum countries giving definition to special measures, that is the inclusion of suspension and, thirdly, a time line which is that we are going to receive a report on this by year’s end which is still three months before the scheduled convening of elections.

    “For the region to speak with a uniform voice, a united voice condemning the abuse of democracy on the part of the interim Fiji government is itself a significant step forward,” Kevin Rudd said.

    Asked if the forum leaders considered what retaliatory measures the Fiji interim government might take in a worst case scenario of being suspended, Mr Talagi said: “I think at the present moment we should not speculate. What we need to do is to ensure we continue with our dialogue with Fiji based on the decisions taken by the forum leaders.”

    He said the forum had selected Tuiloma Neroni Slade, a high profile diplomat from Samoa, as its new secretary general to replace Greg Urwin who died recently. On the first ballot, Mr Slade defeated two other candidates for the post, Wilkie Rasmussen, the Cook Islands Minister of Foreign Affairs, and Feleti Teo, the forum’s deputy secretary general from Tuvalu.

    Clark wants electoral changes in Fiji
    NZPA | Friday August 22 2008 – 08:51am
    New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark

    Prime Minister Helen Clark says Fiji’s military government is not the right body to implement electoral and constitutional change in the country.

    Pacific leaders yesterday warned Fiji’s unelected government it could be suspended from the Pacific Islands Forum if it does not meet its promise to hold elections by March next year.

    Fiji has been ruled by self-appointed prime minister Commodore Voreqe (Frank) Bainimarama since he staged a bloodless coup in December 2006.

    Last year he promised forum leaders he would hold elections by March 2009, but in recent weeks he has gone back on his word, saying he first wants to change the country’s electoral system.

    But Miss Clark, who is attending the Pacific Islands Forum in Niue, today said Cdre Bainimarama had promised last year to hold elections before electoral and constitutional changes.

    She said those changes should be made after an election by a democratic government.

    “What we now see is some idea within the Fiji interim government that they can get a new constitution without any proper process,” she said on Radio New Zealand.

    Miss Clark said a process needed to be agreed on for making any constitutional or electoral changes, but that should occur after free elections had been held.

    “I don’t think there is anything inherently bad about Fiji’s constitution or electoral laws.

    “The point is the commodore has decided he doesn’t like it. It’s no way to change a country’s fundamental laws like electoral law just because a person decides he doesn’t like it.”

    Miss Clark said claims by Fiji’s government that New Zealand and Australia were ganging up on Fiji were “insulting”.

    She said the decision from forum leaders that Fiji might be suspended if it did not meet its promise for elections was unanimous.

    Forum leaders yesterday said the situation in Fiji would continue to be monitored and a ministerial contact group would prepare a new report on election preparations before the end of the year.

    When that report had been received there would be another forum summit meeting where measures, including suspension, would be considered, they said.

    Cdre Bainimarama refused to attend the Niue meeting, claiming he had been denied the opportunity to hold post-summit talks in Auckland because of travel sanctions imposed by New Zealand.

    Prime Minister Helen Clark has rejected his excuse.

    Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd yesterday said that for the first time the forum had directly condemned Cdre Bainimarama’s actions.

    “Secondly, for the first time, the leaders of the Pacific Islands Forum have embraced the possibility of suspension of a member state … to be adopted against Fiji should they continue not to embrace their undertakings for March 2009 elections.”

    The forum was established in 1971 and no country has been suspended.

    Fiji has been a key member and the organisation is based in Suva.

  19. IslandBoy Says:

    @Adi Kalia – its funny you told me to say my prayers. This was my bible verse for today.

    Tragic Transformation

    “When they looked for him, he could not be found…The LORD said, ‘Behold, he is hiding himself by the baggage.'” – 1 Samuel 10:21-22 NASB

    Saul seemed astonished. Was he really to be Israel’s king? How could this be true? He felt totally unqualified. Yet this is what he was told by Samuel. At the public gathering when their king was to be unveiled, Saul’s name was called, but he remained in hiding. This is how he began his reign as king-meek and totally dependent on God.

    Saul maintained this attitude in the early days of his regime, reigning with humility and trusting in God’s guidance and the presence of the Holy Spirit.

    But gradually everything changed. Saul started acting rashly, trusting himself instead of seeking God’s will or consulting with His prophet. The king reinterpreted God’s Word to satisfy his own interests, distrusted others, and even decided that David was a rival who must be eliminated.

    This kind of tragic transformation can happen to any of us. Like Saul, we can begin our lives and careers in humility, depending on the Lord. But the experience of power and success can change us.

    We can become proud and possessive, defensive and jealous, self-centered and protective. We can ignore or reinterpret God’s Word. Instead of serving Him, we can seek to build our own kingdom.

    This is what happens when we drift away from God. Like Saul, we find that our peace is gone and our prayers aren’t being answered. In desperation, we can be tempted to embrace false ideas that lead us down wrong paths.

    Today, remember that this kind of transition can happen to anyone. Be warned! Renew your complete dependence on God. Humble yourself before Him. You owe everything to Him! Everything!

    Live according to God’s Word. Be sensitive to His Spirit. And never forget to give Him all the glory!

    Today’s Prayer

    Father, thank You for all You’ve done for me. I humble myself before You. I commit my time, talent, and treasure to You, and I seek first Your Kingdom. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

    Extended Reading: 1 Samuel 10

  20. NobleBannerBlue Says:

    Samoa will be wringing their hands in glee as the International Organisations will start moving their HQs there

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