SOLOMONS PHILIP URGES U.S. TO ‘EMBRACE’ FIJI

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Embattled military regime needs encouragement

By Douglas Marau HONIARA, Solomon Islands (Solomon Star, July 1, 2011) - Solomon Islands Prime Minister Danny Philip has encouraged United States to embrace Fiji and help the country get back on track ahead of Fiji’s 2014 democratic elections.

Prime Minister Philip told the US delegation led by Assistant Secretary of State to South East Asia and Pacific Kurt Campbell to establish an open and practical dialogue with Fiji.

As for the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) countries, Prime Minister Philip said they have a unique relationship with Fiji.

"We will maintain our all-embracing policy on Fiji to support them," he said.

"I believe the United States also share the same common concept of helping Fiji towards the 2014 elections."

Prime Minister Philip has been instrumental in helping the Fiji interim Prime Minister, Commodore Frank Bainimarama, in obtaining the MSG chairmanship this year during the MSG meeting in Honiara.

Assistant Secretary of State to South East Asia and Pacific Kurt Campbell told a press conference yesterday the United States desire to see Fiji return to democratic rule.

And in their pursuit to see that happen, the United States proposed to work closely with the Australian and New Zealand governments to help resolve the issue in Fiji.

"All of us want democracy restored in Fiji and we are also listening and observing as we go along to ensure the appropriate approach is taken," he said.

Mr Campbell said the United States position on the issue in Fiji was one of the questions raised throughout their visit not only in the Solomons but also other Island nations.

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