September 03, 2012
Fiji inks ties with North Korea and Iran
From: AAP August 31, 2012 7:25PM
AS the Pacific Islands Forum moves to soften its stance on Fiji's military regime, the pariah state has inked diplomatic ties with North Korea and Iran.
Foreign Affairs Minister Inoke Kubuabola, who signed the agreement with Iran on the margins on the Non-Aligned Movement Summit in Tehran, said Fiji has an "open door" foreign policy.
It wanted "to move away from being overly reliant on our traditional bilateral partners", he said.
The agreements have also been made amid signs of a thaw in relations with Australia and New Zealand.
Tehran and Pyongyang are subject to international sanctions over their nuclear activities and all three governments share a deep hostility towards the US.
At the forum in Rarotonga on Thursday (Cook Islands time), a communique was issued to media, which said the leaders noted progress in Fiji to register voters and establish a constitutional commission, along with its assurances there will be freedom of speech and of the media when it holds promised elections in 2014.
Fiji has been suspended from the Commonwealth and the Pacific Island Forum since military strongman Voreqe Bainimarma seized power in 2006, and sanctions followed.
"Fiji, as you would expect have gone out of their way to promote relationships with other places and say 'hey if our old friends don't like us you friends will have us' and that's a phase we'll have to go through," New Zealand Foreign Minister Murray McCully said.
"It doesn't change the fact that we should all be working to try and get our own relationship in this region back into a better space."