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High level meeting to discuss PIFs membership

November 1, 2014 5:18 am

Fiji’s position on re-joining the Pacific Islands Forum was amongst the bilateral discussions held during the two day visit of the Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop.

Fiji was suspended from the Forum following the December 2006 coup, however the suspension was lifted last month after parliamentary democracy.

Despite the collective decision by Forum leaders to ease Fiji’s suspension… Foreign Minister Ratu Inoke Kubuabola says Fiji’s stance is clear – it wants more countries to join the Forum.

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“I am not saying kick out Australia and New Zealand – what we are saying is maybe we should invite other development partners – like Japan – Japan had expressed interest last year not only to be a development partner but to be a member like Australia and New Zealand, and maybe Korea, USA and France.”

Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop says it has been decided that a high level leaders meeting will be held in Sydney later to discuss issues relating to the Forum.

“In a very frank discussion with Ratu Inoke Kubuabola yesterday before he could announce that he was kicking me out I jumped in to say what we must do is try and make this work for the Pacific so how about we get all the Pacific Leaders together and you got to be a Pacific country – none of these other people who think they are – let’s get together and talk about what we actually want. Who do we want to be partners or dialogue partners or what other membership capacity they might have and let’s work out what we actually want.”

Bishop says it is the aim of the Tony Abbot-led government to have a stronger, deeper and a more diversified relationship with Fiji than before.

Bishop returned to Australia this afternoon.

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