BAINIMARAMA MEETS WITH U.S. OFFICIAL IN NEW YORK

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SUVA, Fiji (Fiji Times, Oct. 1) - The interim Prime Minister has met with the senior U.S. government representative that he snubbed while the American was on a visit to Fiji earlier this year.

Commnader Bainimarama said the meeting with Glyn Davies in New York has paved the way for further engagements and dialogue to rebuild the relationship between the two countries.

Mr. Davies, the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary with the Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs, was briefed on the situation in Fiji and the progress being made to advance the country.

Commander Bainimarama has also invited Mr. Davies to visit Fiji to see first hand the progress being made, according to a government statement. This is a surprise turn of events given that earlier this year Bainimarama had refused to meet Davies, saying it was meant to send a clear signal to the US government that Fiji will only engage with countries and parties genuinely committed to assisting the country move forward.

Davies had told the local media during his visit that he was in Fiji as a ‘friend of Fiji’ but the commander did not quite accept this.

"What kind of friend is he when only a month ago he spoke from thousands of miles away through video conferencing to a group of journalists demanding for immediate return of Fiji to democracy? What does he know about Fiji and its people to be able to make a statement like that?" Commander Bainimarama asked.

He then took a swing at the American ambassador to Fiji and the Pacific, Larry Dinger.

"His Suva-based ambassador was also part of a group of diplomats who visited the Military Barracks just days before the 5th December event, wanting to talk to my officers. This was done while I was not at the Barracks. This clearly was an act of interference and an attempt to incite mutiny. So again I ask how Davies would have accompanied the same Ambassador to call upon me under the pretext of a courtesy visit and wanting to be a ‘friend of Fiji’?"

Around the same time the interim Prime Minister ordered the US embassy to remove the security blockade on Loftus Street but later changed his mind.

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