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‘Advice he’s getting is really counterproductive

SUVA, Fiji (Fijilive, Jan. 3, 2009) – A political analyst with the Australian National University believes the advice given to Fiji's interim Prime Minister is counterproductive.

Dr Brij Lal, a co-architect of Fiji’s current Constitution, made the comments following the recent expulsion of Caroline Macdonald, New Zealand's High Commissioner to Fiji.

Dr Lal said by punishing Australia and New Zealand, Fiji was not going to gain anything.

"I don’t know who is advising the Prime Minister but the advice he’s getting is really counterproductive in Fiji’s long-term interest in the region," he said.

"I think what has happened is that Fiji sees Australia and New Zealand as the principal players orchestrating this anti-interim government move in the region and internationally and therefore they are trying to punish these two countries.

"I think this is a shortsighted view because it’s not really Australia and New Zealand but the international community that is looking for some movement on the part of Fiji to restore the country back to parliamentary democracy.

"Australia, New Zealand, United Nations, United States and the Commonwealth have all taken a position which is Fiji should return to parliamentary democracy in a timely fashion."

He said the only hope of Fiji holding elections any time soon was if interim Prime Minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama took up the United Nation's offer to mediate the next political forum early in the New Year.

"The UN in partnership with the Commonwealth is prepared to get involved in a political dialogue in Fiji and I honestly hope that the interim Government will accept this offer because that one chance to break the impasse and move the country forward and it’s simple that Fiji cannot grow alone so this initiative by the UN is something the government should look at it very carefully because it doesn’t have to many options left."

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