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By Samisoni Pareti

SUVA, Fiji Islands (October 24, 2001 – Fiji Sun)---One of the country’s top public servants, Jioji Kotobalavu, is being consider for appointment as Fiji’s new High Commissioner to Britain, senior government officials have confirmed.

This follows the rejection by the Foreign Office in London of the original nominee, Adi Samanunu Cakobau Talakuli.

Confirmation of the rejection of Adi Samanunu’s name could not be verified, but it is believed that London was not comfortable with Adi Samanunu’s close links with coup front man George Speight.

The SUN’s queries to the British High Commission in Suva remained unanswered at press time.

But at least two government officers the SUN spoke to yesterday confirmed that Adi Samanunu’s name has been withdrawn.

And they said heading the list of possible successors is Mr. Kotobalavu, who is currently the Permanent Secretary in the Prime Minister’s Office.

Mr. Kotobalavu was busy in a Cabinet meeting the whole of yesterday and could not be reached for comment.

But he did tell the SUN earlier in the week that his contract was expiring shortly and that he would go into retirement.

He denied speculations he would be taking up a diplomatic posting in New York.

The Lau civil servant is one of the most experienced government officers in the country, having served under four of the country’s five Prime Ministers since independence.

He had also headed two regional organizations in the Pacific, namely the South Pacific Geoscience Commission and the Forum Fisheries Agency.

Mr. Kotobalavu is also a former diplomat, his last posting being Fiji’s Ambassador to Japan.

For additional reports from the Fiji Sun, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Newspapers/Fiji Sun.


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