NEW ZEALAND SOUGHT TO RESTORE RELATIONS WITH FIJI

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Wikileaks reveals communication between Kiwi, U.S. diplomats

By Repeka Nasiko SUVA, Fiji (Fijilive, Dec. 31, 2010) – The New Zealand Government met with Fiji’s Foreign Minister to press the issue of restoring the country’s diplomatic footprint within the island nation, a WikiLeak cable has revealed.

According to the report released by WikiLeaks, New Zealand’s Foreign Minister, Murray McCully met with his Fijian counterpart, Inoke Kubuabola in an effort to "revive the rocky relations" between the two countries.

The report which was for the U.S Security Council in Washington highlighted a meeting between McCully and Kubuabola in which issues surrounding Fiji’s erratic visa issuance for the Pacific Island Forum (PIF) officials was discussed.

The cable also revealed John Adank, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade Pacific Division Director, had outlined the unstable relationship between New Zealand and Fiji.

Adank noted that since 2007, three New Zealand diplomats have been expelled (one high commissioner and two acting high commissioners). He also said the "expulsions occur whenever the Bainimarama regime tires of New Zealand's travel restrictions."

He underlined that the situation in Fiji has deteriorated further over the past year and that the United States, New Zealand, Australia and other countries need to continue pressuring Fiji to restore democracy. He further stated that there is no sense that the regime in Fiji intends on engaging internally or externally on the issue.

Adank urged the United States to consider the reaction of other Pacific Island nations in any decision it takes with regard to Fiji.

It needs to be done in the "right light" and "managed carefully" to avoid driving a wedge between the Pacific Island countries, Adank said.

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