Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Vanuatu, Honourable Edward Natapei yesterday presented amatanigasau to the Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Ratu Inoke Kubuabola in a bid to seek forgiveness of government.
In a moving traditional apology, Minister Natapei presented a tabua and mats saying that a traditional apology is the right way of seeking forgiveness of government and the people of Fiji.
“I speak on behalf of my government and the people of Vanuatu to say sorry for all the things we’ve done,” Mr Natapei said.
“As a chief and government leader, I feel that it is always right to seek forgiveness in the traditional and Melanesian way.”
Mr Natapei opposed to Fiji getting chairmanship of the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) when he was Vanuatu’s Prime Minister back in 2010.
In July 2010, when Mr Natapei was prime minister, he cancelled the MSG Summit as not to give the chairmanship to Fiji’s Prime Minister, Commodore Bainimarama. He further said he accepts Fiji as MSG member that can participate in any MSG activities but not to hold the position of the chairman.
Later as opposition leader in 2010, Minister Natapei again opposed Vanuatu Prime Minister, Sato Kilman, to support the plan to make Commodore Bainimarama the MSG head.
These differences were resolved yesterday when Mr Natapei sought forgiveness through traditional apology for what happened back then.
Minister Kubuabola received and accepted the presentation on behalf of Fiji’s Prime Minister, Voreqe Bainimarama.
“We are humbled by what you have done and I accept your forgiveness on behalf of the Prime Minister and people of Fiji,” Minister Kubuabola said.
Minister Kubuabola said the traditional apology is a new stepping stone for the relationship between the two countries and reaffirmed Minister Natapei that this will further deepen and strengthen ties between the two countries.