November 22, 2012

Fiji in, Forum plan fails

November 22, 2012
From MAIKA BOLATIKI in Port Moresby, PNG

Prime Minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama is shown his seat during the Special Pacific ACP Leaders Meeting at the Royal Papua Yacht Club in Port Morseby, Papua New Guinea yesterday. Photo: JONA KONATACI
A last minute move to stop Prime Minster Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama from sitting in at the opening session of the Pacific ACP meeting yesterday, at Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea, failed.
The Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Ratu Inoke Kubuabola said, at the Royal Papua Yacht Club, the venue of the meeting, that he met with his counterpart here at PNG to resolve the matter.
Ratu Inoke said he was informed that the Pacific Forum Secretariat, with the support of a small group, had wanted Commodore Bainimarama to stay out of the opening and  be invited in after the opening.
However, Ratu Inoke said the group must be reminded that Fiji’s Prime Minister was invited to the meeting by his counterpart from PNG, Prime Minister Peter O’Neill, to be part of the meeting.
In responding to the invitation, Ratu Inoke said, Commodore Bainimarama made an effort to be here in PNG with a Fiji delegation.
“Why should the Prime Minister from Fiji be stopped to attend the opening when he was invited by the host country?” Ratu Inoke asked.
He said if Commodore Bainimarama was asked to stay out and be invited in later, that was really unacceptable for Fiji.
According to Ratu Inoke his PNG counterpart resolved the matter before the opening proper.
At the opening Mr O’Neill, in welcoming the leaders, specially welcomed Commodore Bainimarama.
“I wish to make a special welcome to Fiji’s prime minister. I sincerely hope that his participation will be good for the Pacific community.
The chair of the Pacific Islands Forum, Cook Islands prime minister, Henry Puna also welcomed Commodore Bainimarama.
He said the meeting was specifically held to discuss Fiji’s participation at Pacific ACP meetings at all levels.
Leaders present at the meeting were – the prime minister of the Cook Islands – Henry Puna, the Prime Minister of Fiji – Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama, the president of the Federated States of Micronesia – Emanuel Manny Mori, the  president of Kiribati – Inote Tong, the president of the Marshall Islands – Christopher Loeak, the president of Nauru – Sprent Dabwido, the premier of Niue – Toke Talagi, the prime minister of Papua New Guinea – Peter O’Neill, the prime minister of the Solomon Islands – Gordon Darcy Lilo,  the prime minister of Tonga – Lord Tuivakano, and the prime minister of Tuvalu – Willy Telavi. Samoa was represented by its deputy prime minister -  Fonotoe Nuafesili Luofo and Vanuatu by Simione Athy, the director general – prime minister’s office.

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