Vanuatu Government Withdraws Roving Ambassador Goiset

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Despite mission to Eastern Europe, Goiset never traveled there

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, March 26, 2013) – Vanuatu’s new Minister of Foreign Affairs, Edward Natapei, has terminated the appointment of Thi Tam Goiset as roving ambassador for Vanuatu to Russia and Eastern countries.

Mr. Natapei, who is also Deputy Prime Minister, has cited irregularities in the appointment of Mrs. Goiset as the reason for the termination.

Mrs. Goiset was appointed last year by the former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Alfred Carlot, but Mr. Natapei said until her termination, Russia and other Eastern countries never confirmed their acceptance.

Mr. Natapei has also instructed the Department of Foreign Affairs to revoke Mrs. Goiset’s diplomatic passport.

Since her appointment last year, it is understood that Mrs. Goiset never travelled to Russia or Eastern countries.

Mr. Natapei had laid down concerns over Mrs. Goiset’s role as diplomat as part of the reasons for a motion of no confidence filed against Prime Minister Sato Kilman last week.

The motion was not debated in parliament, following the sudden resignation of Mr. Kilman.

However, the motion by the then Natapei-led opposition questioned the close links between Mrs. Goiset and Mr. Kilman.

Mr. Kilman’s government was questioned in parliament over a contractual provision for a commission the ambassador would receive on any foreign funding secured for Vanuatu.

[PIR editor's note: Along with Mrs. Goiset, most diplomatic appointments made by Vanuatu's previous administration are also to be cancelled. Natapei said Kilman's government appointed about 99 ambassadors, special envoys, or other representatives, and 70 of those officials would be withdrawn.]

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