CAPTION: Comments by Australian Foreign Minister Bob Carr have not been received well by the Fijian Government. Photo: Sydney Morning Herald.
STATEMENT FROM THE ACTING PRIME MINISTER AND ATTORNEY-GENERAL, AIYAZ SAYED-KHAIYUM
The statement by the Australian Foreign Minister, Bob Carr, that Fiji is “diminished” by not accepting a nomination for the position of Australian High Commissioner in Suva is gratuitous and unwarranted.
How is Fiji diminished? It is exercising its sovereign right like all other countries do in approving, as a host country, a nominee of another country for a diplomatic mission.
The statement indicates, yet again, that Australia’s attitude to Fiji is prescriptive and highhanded. Rather than deal with Fiji as an equal, it expects our country to say “yes” to everything Australia proposes.
Fijians have a wonderful relationship with ordinary Australians, who we regard as valued friends. All of which makes it disappointing that the Australian Government refuses to engage in a constructive manner.
The Bainimarama Government is creating the first genuine parliamentary democracy in Fiji’s history next year of one person, one vote, one value and the removal of the legal enforcement of ethnic voting. All of the former major political parties are registered to contest the elections in September 2014. The Bainimarama Government has consistently said that the 2014 elections will be free, fair and transparent, unlike previous ones.
We again invite Canberra to participate in that process and put aside their unwarranted posturing.