Bainimarama lashes out at Rudd over
April 30, 2009
FIJI’S military ruler Frank Bainimarama has hit out at a claim by Kevin Rudd that the United Nations will stop hiring Fijian peacekeepers, saying the Australian leader should mind his own business.
The troubled Pacific nation’s military commander was angered by Mr Rudd’s statement on Tuesday that Fiji would no longer be considered for United Nations peacekeeping duties.
Cutting deployment of Fijian troops on UN peacekeeping duties would limit revenue flows into the coffers of the country’s undemocratic regime, in power since a December 2006 coup.
But Bainimarama questioned the Australian Prime Minister’s right to make such a statement, saying: “Kevin Rudd is not the United Nations.”
“Until they (the UN) come out with a statement along this line, I don’t think we should listen to Kevin Rudd,” the leader told the Fijian Broadcasting Corporation.
“At any rate, if he does come out with that kind of statement, what good does it do to the ordinary, average Australian?
“Is it going to help improve the lives of the Aborigines in Australia?”
Mr Rudd told a press conference on Tuesday that the UN had decided not to employ Fijian troops on new contracts.
“Through our own interventions with the United Nations and supported by New Zealand and other countries, the United Nations now is not going to engage future or new Fijian troops for new operations,” Mr Rudd said.
The UN itself is yet to make a statement on Fiji troop recruitment.
It has come under increasing pressure to curtail its use of Fijian soldiers at a time when world leaders are calling for Bainimarama to end his rule and hold democratic elections.
New Zealand’s foreign minister Murray McCully called the UN “utterly hypocritical” and several high-profile commentators have urged the organisation to cut ties with Fiji.
The situation has deteriorated further in the past month, with the sacking of Fiji’s judiciary, media sanctions, abrogation of the constitution and further election delays.
Mr Rudd and his Papua New Guinea counterpart Sir Michael Somare this week reaffirmed their hardline approach to Fiji and expectations that the country will be suspended from the regional Pacific Islands Forum for failing to announce an election date by May 1.
However, Fiji’s interim attorney-general, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, told journalists he did not believe Fiji would be suspended.
******************AHA! LOOKS LIKE THE ANGRY TALIBANI PORKER KHAIYUM MAY BE WRONG – AGAIN – CHUCKLE CHUCKLE**********************
Pacific Forum expects Fiji fury at suspension
Rowan Callick, Asia-Pacific editor | April 30, 2009
CANBERRA and the Pacific nations are preparing for an angry response from Fiji’s military Government to the country’s suspension from the Pacific Islands Forum at midnight tonight.
The forum headquarters, with about 90 mostly Fijian staff, is in Fiji’s capital, Suva, as are other forum institutions, including the University of the South Pacific and the Pacific Islands Applied Geosciences Commission.
Pacific analysts are attempting to predict how Fijian Prime Minister and military commander Frank Bainimarama, who seized power in a coup in December 2006, will respond to the suspension from the forum.
Options include expelling the Australian high commissioner – two New Zealand high commissioners have already been thrown out – removing the diplomatic immunity of the chairman of the forum, Niue Prime Minister Toke Talagi, and closing the secretariat, which would then probably move to Apia, the capital of Samoa.
As well, Fiji’s military regime is expected to turn more to China and India for help.
Commodore Bainimarama has intensified the militarisation of the Fiji administration since April 10, when the country’s constitution was abrogated.
International credit rating agencies Moody’s and Standard & Poor’s have both downgraded Fiji’s rating since April 10.
Fiji’s suspension – the first time one of the 16 nations in the forum has suffered such a severe penalty in its 38 years – became virtually inevitable following two recent events.
First, Fijian President Josefa Iloilo announced on April 10 that the constitution would be scrapped, the judges sacked and that elections would not be held until September 2014.
This ensured Fiji would fall at the first of two targets set by forum leaders at a summit in Port Moresby on January 27 – that Fiji nominates an election date by May 1 and that an election be held this year. If Fiji failed to meet either of these deadlines, suspension from the forum would follow.
The second event was the meeting between prime ministers Kevin Rudd and Michael Somare of Papua New Guinea in Canberra on Tuesday. Sir Michael was viewed as the most likely Pacific leader to seek a softer outcome for Fiji.
But Sir Michael said in Canberra that while most forum leaders previously had some reservations about taking action, “we are not very happy with Fiji because now they’ve suspended the constitution”.
“The forum gave an ultimatum (so) it has no option, it has to declare its suspension,” he said.
Former diplomat Jenny Hayward-Jones, program director of the Myer Foundation Melanesia Program at the Lowy Institute, said Commodore Bainimarama would portray the decision as a move by Australia, New Zealand and Samoa to punish and isolate Fiji.
“The current strict censorship of the press and restrictions on assembly will make it easier for the regime in Fiji to put its views to the population, and more difficult for the forum to communicate with the people of Fiji,” she said.
Once suspended from the forum, Fiji will not be eligible to benefit from regional co-operation projects and new financial and technical assistance.
***************WE SAY LET THE P IG REGIME BE ANGRY. SQUEAL SQUEAL OINK OINK***************