FIJI SEEKS SOUTHEAST ASIA AIR RIGHTS VIA AUSTRALIA

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CANBERRA, Australia (September 30, 1997 - Radio Australia)---Fiji's Foreign Minister, Berenado Vunibobo, has accused Australia of using the "law of the jungle" in negotiating aviation rights.

Vunibobo says Australia refuses to allow Malaysian and Singapore airlines to fly on from Australia's east coast to Fiji.

"In all of our negotiations they have adamantly refused that very modest concession," the Fiji Foreign Minister told the Australia-Fiji Business Council in the Australian capital of Canberra.

"And, in the long term," he added, "those are the sort of issues that affect relations, because they go right to the core of economic, political, and diplomatic relations between two countries. And you're dealing with small fry. You're not dealing with Thailand or Malaysia. The Malaysians can tell you to get off. We can't."

Vunibobo says aviation rights, connecting Fiji to Southeast Asia are important for developing stronger economic relations.

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