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Military ruler hosts leaders from across Oceania

By Losalini Rasoqosoqo

SUVA, Fiji (Fiji Sun, Aug. 29, 2011) – Leaders must not give in to political or economic expediency for the benefit of only a few.

This will be Prime Minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama’s message when he addresses representatives from 20 countries who will be at Nadi this week for the second ‘Engaging with the Pacific’ meeting. He said leaders must be determined, have fortitude and be resolute in improving the lives of their people.

[PIR editor's note: Bainimarama expressed similar sentiments at the opening of 2010's "Engaging with the Pacific" conference, calling for Pacific countries not to "give in to political or economic expediency for the benefit of only the few."]

Pointing out in particular the Pacific Small Island Developing States (PSIDS), Commodore Bainimarama said leaders needed to have a vision to improve their country’s status and provide tangible benefits and improvements to the lives of the people. Commodore Bainimarama said it was that philosophy that his government made a radical change in Fiji to modernize, liberalize and position themselves in this millennium.

He said his government had in particular over the past year embarked on major reforms to empower citizens.

The meeting is scheduled to take place at the Tanoa International Hotel on Thursday and Friday.

Meanwhile, Ministry of Foreign Affairs deputy permanent secretary (political and treaties) Sila Balawa said the meeting was to engage Pacific countries in a forum to discuss issues affecting the region and solutions that needed to be taken.


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