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SUVA, Fiji (Fijilive, June 12) – Talk of possible instability in Fiji is not only discouraging but downright harmful, says United States Ambassador David Lyon.

Lyon said there wasn't an investor in the world that wouldn't take Fiji's political climate into account when thinking about an investment or even a substantive business relationship.

He was speaking at an Economic Association of Fiji meeting this week on the Joint Commerce Commission set up by the U.S. to help island economies.

"Political risk is always a factor in developing countries, but it can be a determining factor when a country that has three coups in 18 years is also experiencing heated and angry political rhetoric," he said. "I feel strongly enough about this to have cast aside some of the diplomat's accustomed discretion to call this coup-mongering a threat to Fiji, a danger to democracy and downright despicable."

Lyons said he had no problem telling potential American investors that Fiji's governments since independence had placed a high value on foreign investment and on protecting the rights and investments of foreign companies.

"In this Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase's government is no exception, I have appreciated his personal support for American investment in the country," he said.

He said he had more problems in recent months and weeks in answering concerns about political instability.

"Since I work for the American people, and not for Fiji, I have to be frank and respond that I'm worried that angry allegations and accusations could turn into something worse," he said.

Worsening relations between the Government and the Fiji military in recent weeks has created an environment of uncertainty in the country.

Lyons added that for the sake of Fiji's democracy and the prosperity of its people, Fiji's leaders needed to abandon confrontation.

June 13, 2005

Fijilive: http://www.fijilive.com


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