FIJI INTERIM GOVERNMENT TO OPEN INDIA AND CHINA MISSIONS

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SUVA, Fiji Islands (September 3, 2000 - Radio Fiji, Sunday Times/PINA Nius Online)---Fiji's interim government will establish missions in India and China, Radio Fiji reported.

The announcement was made by the interim Trade and Commerce Minister, Tomasi Vuetilovoni, while officially announcing the Exporter of the Year Awards.

Mr. Vuetilovoni said the new foreign missions in Delhi and Beijing are aimed at promoting trade and investment.

Meantime, the Fiji Trade Mission in Sydney will be upgraded to a consulate.

He said a working committee headed by the Ministry of Finance has put together a package to improve investment following the crisis begun by the May 19 takeover of Parliament by armed indigenous Fijians.

The Sunday Times said the Fiji Labour Party has urged Fiji's Indian community to boycott the constitution review committee approved by the indigenous Fijian Great Council of Chiefs. Deposed Prime Minister Mahendra Chaudhry and his Fiji Labour Party had led the country's ousted People's Coalition Government.

The chiefs had agreed that four representatives of the Indian community be invited to join the 12-member committee, along with members of the Rotuman and General elector communities. The committee is chaired by Fijian academic Professor Asesela Ravuvu, of the University of the South Pacific, and includes representatives of all the traditional Fijian confederacies.

But Fiji Labour Party spokesman Pratap Chand said: "The FLP calls upon the Indian community to reject any attempt by the interim administration to lure Indian representation on the commission. The FLP is hopeful that no self-respecting Indian will serve."

Biman Prasad, spokesperson for the other major Indian party, the National Federation Party, said its executives will meet this week to decide on the invitation to join the committee. But he said the party is still hopeful the situation can be resolved within the 1997 constitution.

He said it has asked interim Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase to call a meeting of all political parties and seek a solution.

Pacific Islands News Association (PINA) Website: http://www.pinanius.org 

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