Fiji PM Hopes To Work With New Australian Counterpart

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Bainimarama congratulates Turnbull, calls for new climate stance

By Tevita Vuibau

SUVA, Fiji (Fiji Times, Sept. 16, 2015) – Fiji Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama yesterday congratulated the new Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull on his appointment while also appealing to him to reconsider his government's stance on climate change.

Mr Turnbull became PM elect after defeating Tony Abbott for the leadership of the Liberal Party 54 votes to 44 votes on Wednesday and Mr Bainimarama said Fijians and Australians always had close relationships.

But he acknowledged the same was not true at political and diplomatic levels in recent years, and he hoped to work with Mr Turnbull to chart a new course.

"On the issue of greatest concern to Pacific people — climate change — we are encouraged by your previous public statements about the need for more decisive action to reduce carbon emissions to arrest the current state of global warming," Mr Bainimarama said.

"I note that you have said there will be no change in the carbon emission targets that Australia has already submitted to the United Nations Climate Conference in Paris at the end of November.

"But I appeal to you to reconsider Australia's position and take into account the grave danger to Pacific countries caused by rising sea levels and extreme weather events and the need for concerted and decisive global action to address this crisis."

He said Fiji needed Australia to recognise the effects that climate change was having on the Fiji Islands and also expressed his disappointment that Australia had chosen not to recognise this plight and instead put it's own interests ahead.

"We hope that you can provide the leadership Australia needs to recognise its responsibility to be a good neighbour and stand with us in this struggle. And, indeed, to recognise that the further development of your nation's reserves of coal — the most polluting of energy sources — is also detrimental to the Australian people and the world as a whole."

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