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Cablegate: Foreign Minister Mccully Discusses Fiji And

VZCZCXRO5891
OO RUEHPB
DE RUEHWL #0414 3500408
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 150408Z DEC 08
FM AMEMBASSY WELLINGTON
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 5580
INFO RUEHSV/AMEMBASSY SUVA IMMEDIATE 0782
RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA PRIORITY 5352
RUEHPB/AMEMBASSY PORT MORESBY PRIORITY 0769
RUEHBN/AMCONSUL MELBOURNE PRIORITY 0133
RUEHDN/AMCONSUL SYDNEY PRIORITY 0781

C O N F I D E N T I A L WELLINGTON 000414

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 12/15/2025
TAGS: EFIS ENRG PREL NZ FJ AS XV
SUBJECT: FOREIGN MINISTER MCCULLY DISCUSSES FIJI AND
PACIFIC CONCERNS WITH DEPARTING AMBASSADOR

Classified By: DCM David J. Keegan for E.O. 12958, Reasons 1.4 (b) and
(d).

1. (SBU) The Ambassador paid his introductory and farewell
call on newly appointed Foreign Minister Murray McCully
December 15. They agreed that there had been dramatic
improvement in our bilateral relationship during Ambassador
McCormick,s tenure due to the efforts of many leaders in
both governments. McCully said he had taken the opportunity
of the recent APEC meetings in Lima to thank Assistant
Secretary Christopher Hill personally.
2. (C) Early in the conversation, FM McCully said that he
anticipated that New Zealand,s acting High Commissioner to
Suva might be expelled shortly. He explained that during the
recent trip of Pacific Island Forum (PIF) foreign ministers
to Fiji he had been summoned to the office of acting Prime
Minister Bainimarama. Bainimarama had said that Fiji was
still waiting for New Zealand to issue a student visa for the
son of the President,s Private Secretary. If the visa were
not issued Fiji would expel the High Commissioner. McCully
said that the visa applicant had had a student visa to New
Zealand before and might well qualify on his own, but he fell
under the visa prohibition against members of the interim
government and their families. McCully made it clear that he
considered Bainimarama,s threat to be an effort to
intimidate the New Zealand,s new National Government, and
the Government would not buckle. In the next day or two he
would be drafting a response with the bad news, and he
expected the High Commissioner,s expulsion to follow soon
after. He expressed the hope that the U.S. would support New
Zealand if these events occurred. The Ambassador made it
clear that we understood New Zealand,s situation and
supported its response. Embassy Wellington understands that
Ambassador McGann in Fiji has informed Washington that he
stands ready to express our disapproval if Bainimarama moves
toward such an action.
3. (SBU) The Ambassador said that New Zealand,s role in the
Pacific is one which the United States highly values. He
highlighted the importance of our working with the Pacific
Island Countries to address issues such as sustainable
fisheries and renewable energy. McCully said that the new
National Government is looking at what steps it can take to
bring a new intensity and focus to these efforts. Ambassador
McCormick urged New Zealand particularly to consider the
value of taking the lead with the U.S. in renewable energy
efforts. He suggested that the installation of even a single
wind turbine on each Pacific island would remind governments
and peoples of our continuing commitment to them. McCully
said that he fully shared that sentiment. He said that he had
heard Australian Prime Minister Rudd had suggest that
Australia and New Zealand were spending one billion dollars
between them in the Pacific, and they needed to be sure that
they were actually buying something with that expenditure.
4. (SBU) McCully concluded the call by saying that he looked
forward to visiting Washington at an appropriate time, and he
would defer to us on what the best time might be.
McCORMICK

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