Taking photos is not an official invite says Government

September 29, 2022 8:23 am

The Fijian Government says the claim by Sitiveni Rabuka that he held an official meeting with United States President Bill Clinton is a lie.

Rabuka made the comment after the Fijian Government posted on its Facebook Page that Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama will be the first Fijian PM to hold an official audience with a US President that matches the scale of the late President Ratu Sir Kamisese Mara’s first meeting with a US President as Prime Minister in 1984.

The People’s Alliance leader says this week’s meeting in the White House between President Biden and Bainimarama is not the first for any Fijian leader in almost 40 years.

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He says that as a former Prime Minister, he had met the then President of the United States, Bill Clinton, in 1995.

The Fijian government denounced Rabuka’s claim, saying Rabuka was not invited to hold an official meeting with Clinton; he attended a non-government breakfast event that thousands attended in which the then-Prime Minister took a photo with President Bill Clinton and went home.

Acting Prime Minister Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum says taking a photograph and holding an official audience are not comparable to any serious student of statecraft, and it has taken almost 40 years to hold an official audience with a US President.

Sayed-Khaiyum says this is not propaganda as Rabuka has claimed; it is a matter of protocol, and it really shows how desperate Rabuka is for relevance to mislead the public about a fundamental matter of statecraft.

Bainimarama will meet the President of the United States of America at the White House today in an official capacity, a first for a Fijian Prime Minister since 1984.

The Prime Minister plans to speak directly with President Biden about deepening the Fiji-US relationship and the larger priorities affecting the Blue Pacific in his capacity as Chair of the Pacific Islands Forum.