FIJI WARY OF BRITISH PACIFIC PULLOUT

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SUVA, Fiji (Fiji Times, July 12) – Fiji Foreign Affairs Minister Kaliopate Tavola says Britain’s plans for a reduced presence in the Pacific could affect assistance programs to Fiji.

"We only hope its withdrawal from bilateral agreements will not affect its assistance through bilateral agreements or through its now favored policy of multi-lateral agreement," Tavola said.

Britain closed its consular in Kiribati at the end of last year, and is about to close its missions in Tonga and Vanuatu this year and next year respectively.

Britain aims to close its Tonga consulate in October and its Vanuatu mission as early as April next year.

Early this year, Britain pulled out from the Secretariat of the Pacific Community, a regional organization in which it was a major donor and founding member.

July 13, 2005

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