PNG And Fiji’s Bilateral Relations Remain Strong, May 25, 2015

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PNG And Fiji’s Bilateral Relations Remain Strong Despite tensions with Fiji PM

By Gorethy Kenneth

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, May 25, 2015) – Papua New Guinea and Fiji’s bilateral and Melanesian relationship remains strong despite differences, Prime Minister Peter O’Neill told a conference in Japan.

It is understood Fiji Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama is not in good terms with several other Pacific countries, one of which is Papua New Guinea.

Bainimarama has also refused to attend the Pacific Islands Forum Leaders’ Summit which the PNG Government will host in Port Moresby in September as he wants Australia and New Zealand cease to become full members of the regional body.

But Mr O'Neill said he was optimistic that Bainimarama will change his mind and attend this year’s Forum Leaders Meeting in Port Moresby in September.

He assured in Japan that there is no tense relationship with Fiji and that the diplomatic relations between the two major Melanesian countries remains strong.

"We all will have differences in opinion about issues, but that’s healthy. There is nothing wrong with that, we encourage people to speak their mind. But we need to work together and that is what we are encouraging.

"He is a Pacific Islander, he is entitled to change his mind just like we change our mind. But he is a member of the Forum and I'm sure Fiji will participate but we will continue to communicate with him, O’Neill said in the interview in Japan.

O’Neill in an interview confirmed he met briefly with Mr Bainimarama in Tokyo during the tea ceremony at the Japan’s Imperial Palace and ahead of the PALM Summit.

He said that to complement this relationship further the Government is in the process of appointing a new ambassador to Fiji which will be announced soon.

"We are encouraging a lot of PNG investment to invest in Fiji and Fiji investment into PNG. We will continue to engage with Fiji and I reiterate that our relations remain healthy and strong," he said.

"We've welcomed him since his election as Prime Minister. We want to see greater involvement from Fiji with other Pacific Island Countries and their leaders. It is very encouraging to see him participating in this meeting," he said.

 

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