BAINIMARAMA: U.S. OFFICIAL ‘NOT A FRIEND’ OF FIJI CAUSE

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SUVA, Fiji (Fijilive, April 13) – Fiji's Interim Prime Minister says he refused to meet a United States Government official this week because he wants to send a clear signal to the U.S. that Fiji will only work with countries genuine about helping move the country forward.

Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama did not meet U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for East Asia and Pacific Affairs, Glyn Davies while he was in the country this week.

Davies said yesterday that Commodore Bainimarama's decision was "unfortunate and represents a missed opportunity."

However, in response today Commodore Bainimarama questioned comments by Davies that he had come here as a "friend of Fiji."

He said only last month, Davies in a video conference demanded the immediate return of democracy in Fiji.

"What does he know about Fiji and its people to be able to make a statement like that?" Bainimarama said.

The Commodore also alleged that the US Ambassador based in Suva was also part of a group of diplomats who met senior officers while he was out of the country late last year and attempted to incite mutiny.

The US, British and Australian diplomats have denied the allegation saying they spoke to the senior officers about respecting constitutional processes and not to undertake a coup.

Commodore Bainimarama questioned how Davies would have accompanied the US diplomat to call upon him "under the pretext of a courtesy visit and wanting to be a friend of Fiji."

He said Fiji has its set of unique and complex problems, which can only be understood by people who genuinely engage with us.

"This is what has motivated us in engaging with the Pacific Island Countries and Australia and New Zealand through the Pacific Islands Forum and Eminent Persons Group process as there is goodwill and understanding in our neighbours to assist Fiji through perseverance and a helping hand in our hour of need. We are also committed to engaging fully with the European Union, thus the reason for sending a high-powered Government delegation to Brussels next week for the required consultations."

Commodore Bainimarama also commended countries in South East Asia like China and India for recognising Fiji's problems as internal and that the issues be best left for her people to solve.

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