Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Fiji: U.S. Congressman Decries Treatment of Fiji by Other Pacific Island Nations as U.S. Moves to Re-engage Asia-Pacific Region

SOURCE Republic of Fiji

Former chairman and current Ranking Member of the House Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific, Eni Faleomavaega, speaks out against isolationist tactics employed against Fiji by its Pacific Island nation neighbours — Australia and New Zealand.

Supporting Fiji's movement toward truly democratic elections in 2014, Faleomavaega cites Australia's targeted sanctions, and New Zealand's freeze on seasonal work and visas as detrimental to regional progress. Particularly as President Barack Obama moves to re-engage with the Asia-Pacific region, Faleomavaega asserted re-engagement should include Fiji, which has been a strong U.S. ally and continues to develop dynamic global partnerships.

Australia's own government-funded think tank, the Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI), recently released a comprehensive report with bold implications that Australia's political policies toward Fiji have negatively impacted its reputation in the region, leading to nothing but a "dead end".

The ASPI report references strained international confidence in Australia's regional position, as the Bainimarama Government continues to bring modernisation to Fijians as demonstrated by items presented in the 2012 economic plan:

Despite unnecessary barricades to progress imposed by regional neighbours, the Bainimarama Government will continue to adhere firmly to its stated goals to empower all Fijians; strengthen the economy; and modernise the nation.