Australia, New Zealand Should ‘Be Real’ With Fiji: Sogavare

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‘Eminent’ MSG member says Fiji should not be isolated from PIF

By Maika Bolatiki

SUVA, Fiji (Fijilive, May 1, 2013) – Australia and New Zealand should be real on how they treat Fiji. This was the message sent to them yesterday by the former Solomon Islands Prime Minister and member of the Melanesian Spearhead Group’s (MSG) Eminent Persons Group, Manasseh Sogavare.

Speaking to the Fiji Sun from Holiday Inn Suva yesterday, Mr. Sogavare said Australia and New Zealand should be reminded that Fiji was an important member of the Pacific Islands Forum and it should not be isolated from the members.

"It’s time that they relooked at their stand on Fiji, especially on its roadmap to democracy that will see the country going to the polls in 2014," Mr. Sogavare said.

The former Prime Minister said sanctions put in place by New Zealand and Australia against Fiji had no impact on the government but the people had been affected.

"It’s time they lifted the sanctions."

He said the two countries should re-engage with Fiji now. "There is a reason why the military took over leadership in 2006 and this has to be respected," Sogavare added

The Prime Minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama-led had continued to gain support Fiji wide.

Mr. Sogavare said the Melanesian Spearhead Group’s Eminent Persons Group, led by Fiji’s Kaliopate Tavola, met Prime Minister Commodore Bainimarama on Monday.

He said they were happy with Fiji’s roadmap to democracy. The group, he said, was assured by the Prime Minister that Fiji’s elections would be held in 2014.

Mr. Sogavare reminded Australia and New Zealand that solutions to Fiji’s problems should be resolved the Melanesian way.

He is currently in Fiji with the MSG Eminent Persons Group.

The Group is to review the performance of the MSG for the past 25 years and formulate a vision and a roadmap for the next 25 years.

The Eminent Persons Group report is expected to be tabled at the 19th MSG Leaders Summit in June in Noumea during which the 25th Anniversary of the MSG will also be celebrated.

The MSG Eminent Persons Group is led by Fiji’s Kaliopate Tavola and Mr. Sogavare include Mr. Joe Natuman of Vanuatu, Leonard Louma of Papua New Guinea and president of the Front de Liberation Nationale Kanak et Socialiste (FLNKS) Roch Wamytan.

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