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Four Statements From Fijian Information Minister

FOUR STATEMENTS:
- Commonwealth Criticism Not Indicative Of UN Attitudes
- Kubuabola Crys Foul Over NZ Invite To CMAG
- PM Briefed On Investment And Business Interests
- United Nations Recognise Interim Administration

20th September, 2000

Commonwealth Criticism Not Indicative Of UN Attitudes

Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase received warm congratulations from the Heads of many delegations after his address to the United Nations General assembly last Friday.

In his address Mr Qarase had appealed to the international community to let Fiji solve its own problems and had outlined a time frame to return the country to constitutional democracy.

Representatives from many nations also expressed their understanding of the situation in Fiji and had agreed that it was a matter for the people of Fiji to resolve themselves.

Minister for Information Ratu Inoke Kubuabola said that this contrasted markedly with the negative, interfering, and patronising attitude shown to Fiji by Commonwealth countries such as New Zealand, Australia and Canada. Ratu Inoke said that this only demonstrated a lack of genuine effort on their part to understand the complex situation that exists in Fiji.

He added that of all the members of the Commonwealth Ministers Action Group, Malaysia had been the most sympathetic and understanding.

20th September 2000

Kubuabola Crys Foul Over Nz Invite To Cmag

The Minister for Information Ratu Inoke Kubuabola has questioned the presence of New Zealand at the recent Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group Meeting held in New York stating that it is inappropriate that a non-member such as New Zealand was invited.

"This is definitely inappropriate."

"What can we deduce from this?"

"Why for example were Pacific Island members not also invited to attend the CMAG session on Fiji?"

"The Papua New Guinea Minister for Foreign Affairs was in New York at the same time and he is also Chairman of the Pacific ACP team that visited Fiji recently on a fact finding mission. Why was he not invited?" the Information Minister asked.

"Is the fact that the Commonwealth Secretary-General, Don Mckinnon, a New Zealander, connected with the unusual invitation extended to the NZ Foreign Minister?"

Ratu Inoke slammed New Zealand saying that the interfering and interventionist attitude of it¹s Foreign Minister Phil Goff could have the negative impact of undermining the feelings and attitudes of the majority of Fiji¹s people.

ŒThe continuing relevance to Fiji of the Commonwealth is also being undermined because of the typically negative attitude of Phil Goff."

Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase had addressed the CMAG meeting on the interim government¹s intentions and the complex nature of the problems they were endeavouring to resolve in Fiji.

20th September, 2000

PM Briefed On Investment And Business Interests

Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase was yesterday (19/09/00) briefed on US investment and business interests in Fiji, during his meeting with the US/Fiji Business Council officials in Los Angeles.

The US/Fiji Business Council officials included, President Ken Mitchell, Vice President Vijen Prasad, Vice President Gene Bambic, Christain Lloyd and Cody Andres.

The Prime Minister also met with Representatives of the Fiji Visitors Bureau and Fiji Trade and Investment Bureau based in Las Angeles.

FVB representative to the US, Jo Tuamoto and FTIB representative Ravin Swami briefed Mr Qarase on their marketing and promotional activities in Fiji for tourism and investment.

Currently Fiji is expecting to see an increase in visitor arrivals from Australia and New Zealand with Air Pacific and Air New Zealand introducing new airfares.

The Fiji Visitors Bureau is also assisting greatly in its campaign to promote Fiji¹s image in the United Kingdom where Fiji is perceived as a good value for money destination.

20th September 2000

United Nations Recognise Interim Administration

Fiji¹s membership to the United Nations remains on a high note with the Interim Prime Minister, Laisenia Qarase presenting his credentials there.

With his credentials well received, the United Nations has implicitly recognised the Interim Administration in Fiji. This gesture will prove to be very important for the people of Fiji as there has been no question whatsoever of Fiji's continuing membership of the UN.

Furthermore, the United Nations turned down a request made by the dismissed Prime Minister, Mahendra Chaudhry and former Minister for Agriculture in the People¹s Coalition government, Poseci Bune to address the General Assembly.

Therefore, it is evident that the United Nations only recognised the Interim Administration and its request for more Fiji troops to UNIFIL.

Their request signifies the United Nations having no reservations whatsoever in doing business with Fiji.

However, it is clearly seen that the deposed Prime Minister, Mahendra Chaudhry is wasting his time trying to influence individual UN officials.

Mr Chaudhry should come home as the solution to Fiji¹s problems is to be worked out in Fiji.

According to Mr Qarase, the deposed Prime Minister, Mahendra Chaudhry¹s efforts to lobby for smarter sanctions is inviting reactions against Fiji, which will only harden race relations.

It will certainly not help in addressing both the Constitution and the ALTA issues, he added.

-End-


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