FIJI SCRAPS PLAN FOR KUWAIT CONSULATE

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SUVA, Fiji (Fijilive, Apr. 6) - Fiji has ruled out establishing an Honorary Consul in Kuwait. Instead it will now seek to have a "properly accredited" diplomat in the Middle East country.

"As regards to establishing an Hon Consul in Kuwait, it has now emerged that the Kuwaiti Government has stopped this practice," the Foreign Affairs and Trade Minister, Kaliopate Tavola told Fijilive. "What it prefers instead is the establishment of diplomatic relations to allow proper accreditation to that country by an Ambassador. This is the option that we are pursuing."

Meanwhile Labour Minister Kenneth Zinck, who led a Government delegation to Kuwait recently, described the trip as successful.

"I met with the employers of our boys working in Kuwait and Iraq and I will submit to Cabinet a report on my trip soon," he said.

An official from the Foreign Affairs Ministry accompanied Zinck on the tour to assess the viability of stationing a diplomat in Kuwait.

"As it can be appreciated, there is a concentration of Fiji citizens in that country as a result of people going across to work there," said Tavola.

"They will have needs for which government's facilitation will be required. Apart from those needs, government will also need to establish bilateral relations with that country."

Tavola said there is hope of getting access to trade with Kuwait and with the region as a whole.

"We can also have an opportunity to strengthen political relations and collaborate at the multilateral level."

Honorary Consuls, as opposed to ambassadors, are usually volunteers who want to carry out the work of being a representative in a country with minimal costs, but who enjoy the status of being a country's representative.

Usually, they are people who are well off and who do not really need the money as a reward for their work. The government the Consul represents pays a small retainer.

Thousands of Fiji citizens have applied for work in private firms in Kuwait providing logistical support to the rebuilding efforts in neighboring Iraq.

Hundreds others, work for security firms, the United Nations and the British Army in Iraq.

April 7, 2005

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