Fiji-Australia Relations Progressing Quietly: Academic

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Richard Herr: normalizing likely happening under the radar

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, Nov. 5, 2013) – An academic who works between Australia and Fiji says the restoration of ties between the two countries is progressing quietly, despite both countries saying normalisation won’t take place until after the election promised for next year.

The Foreign Ministers of both countries met in Sydney last month, following the Australian minister Julie Bishop’s pre-election signals the Coalition government would ease up on Suva.

But Canberra has not formally lifted sanctions on Fiji and has also stated it is waiting for free and fair elections before ties are normalised.

A Pacific governance and diplomacy expert, Dr. Richard Herr, says this does not represent back-tracking by Canberra and he says Suva is cautiously optimistic about the relationship.

"It’s one of those things which I think we’ll find has been going along fairly significantly but below the radar simply because it can’t be part of the public debate. Confidence comes from having a secure relationship not trumpeting every win or trying to make changes look as if one side or the other has won," Herr said.

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