Fiji Opposition Accuses Indonesia Of Interfering In Local Politics

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Ambassador seen as supporting Bainimarama’s election campaign

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, March 4, 2014) – Fiji's main opposition grouping has accused Indonesia of interfering in Fiji's internal politics.

The United Front for a Democratic Fiji claims a visit this week to Fiji by an Indonesian delegation and comments by the Indonesian Ambassador are part of Jakarta's efforts to support the Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama in his campaign for reelection.

Indonesia's Tabloid Jubi news site reports the UFDF's Mick Beddoes saying Ambassador Aidil Chandra Salim's media statements clearly show Indonesian support for Commodore Bainimarama's campaign to win the upcoming election.

He says that this support and the Indonesian government's recent gift of around 260 thousand US dollars to the Melanesian Spearhead Group are designed to quell moves within the MSG to grant membership to West Papuans.

The Indonesian embassy in Fiji has denied the accusations.

Fiji led a recent MSG fact-finding mission to Indonesia's troubled eastern region of Papua.

The Fiji government says the Indonesian delegation currently in Fiji will participate in a public lecture to create awareness on autonomy and development in Papua region.

The delegation was planned after Vanuatu announced it would hold an international symposium on West Papua as an alternative to the January MSG mission.

Vanuatu says the mission didn't accomplish the original objectives of MSG leaders in mandating it.

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