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Ban Dispatches UN Team To Fiji

Ban Dispatches UN Team To Fiji To Help Resolve Internal Political Tensions

New York, Nov 24 2008 5:10PM

A United Nations team is currently in Fiji as part of efforts by the world body to help the interim Government and other major political forces in the Pacific archipelago resolve their ongoing problems.

The team, which is headed by Tamrat Samuel, an official with the UN Department of Political Affairs (DPA), is meeting with a range of stakeholders while in Suva, the national capital, for a six-day visit that began yesterday.

Aside from Government officials and politicians, the team is expected to meet with representatives of the Commonwealth and of the Pacific Islands Forum.

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon dispatched the exploratory mission to Fiji in the hope that discussions with all stakeholders “would lead to finding a mutually agreeable way forward on the political situation,” his spokesperson, Michele Montas, told reporters.

The island chain has suffered prolonged internal tensions between its indigenous Fijian and Indo-Fijian communities, and had four coups since 1987.

In September, the country’s Prime Minister, Josaia Bainimarama, told the annual high-level debate at the General Assembly that the country will not be able to hold parliamentary elections by next March, as previously scheduled, because it first needs to reform its electoral system.

Commodore Bainimarama came to power in a coup in December 2006, sparking criticism from the UN at the time, and he is still Commander of Fiji’s military forces.

ENDS

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