FIJI ENVOY STYMIED IN BOUGAINVILLE DIPLOMATIC CRISIS

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PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, Nov. 24) – The Second Secretary to the Fijian High Commissioner in Port Moresby, Emosi Rakai, was yesterday refused access to the nine Fijians now in Tonu, Bougainville.

The former Fijian soldiers have been recruited as security trainers by failed pyramid scheme "U-Vistract" principal Noah Musingku, who is reported to be preventing the Fijians from talking to Mr Rakai.

In Port Moresby, Fiji High Commissioner to PNG Ratu Inoke Kabuabola said his government was determined to speak to the men and persuade them to leave Bougainville.

"The wives of these men are co-operating with our office in sending messages through for the meeting to take place," Mr Kabuabola said.

He said the PNG and Autonomous Bougainville governments were helping to provide security.

"We are confident that after the meeting, the Fijian men will take heed of the position taken by the Fiji and PNG governments, which is (for them) to move out of Bougainville immediately," Mr Kabuabola said.

Mr Rakai arrived in Buka on Tuesday and went directly to a meeting with ABG officials to find ways to take the Fijians back to Port Moresby. He appealed through Radio Bougainville on Tuesday to the men to come to Buka.

Late yesterday, Mr Rakai said all avenues seemed to be failing as he could not even speak to them on satellite phone or on VHF radio.

"They were given orders not to speak to me," Mr Rakai said.

Foreign Affairs Secretary Gabriel Pepson said yesterday that they were in close consultation with the ABG and the Fijian Government.

Mr Pepson said relevant authorities would be meeting today to discuss the issues that were at hand and would later advice the two governments.

"We are looking at all options but whatever actions we take must be acceptable and in line with the international and other conventions that Papua New Guinea was signatory to," he said.

Mr Rakai said it will take full co-operation from the authorities on the ground, including the Me’ekamui and Mr Musingku, for him to be able to talk to the Fijians in Siwai.

"Basically, I’ve come to talk with the Fijians and at least go back with one or two but it seems they’ve been refused to talk to me," Mr Rakai said.

Mr Rakai said even though he had not talked to them, he would continue to contact people "who can help me with talking to the Fijians in Tonu".

"I am hopeful the nine will come along with the approval of the U-Vistract principal Noah Musingku to go back to Port Moresby."

November 25, 2005

Papua New Guinea Post-Courier: www.postcourier.com.pg/

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