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H.E. Mr. Josaia V. Bainimarama, Prime Minister and Minister for Public Service of the interim Government of Fiji

26 September 2008

Statement Summary

JOSALA V. BAINIMARAMA, Prime Minister and Minister for Public Service of the interim Government of Fiji, said climate change was now “a present and very real danger”, though the rest of the world continued to endlessly debate its implications.  Fiji appealed to the international community for investments in adaptation measures.  He also highlighted “shocks” that spread to small nations like Fiji in the wake of escalations in food and energy prices, and the downturn of the global economy.

On United Nations peacekeeping, he noted that Fiji’s participation in peacekeeping operations had been suspended, despite a “proud record”.  He attributed that to the “strained” relationship between Fiji and the United Nations Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO) since Fiji’s military “intervention” in the creation of its current interim Government in December 2006, but he expressed hope in future participation.

“Very considerable progress” had been made in the creation of the People’s Charter Initiative to rebuild Fiji into a “non-partial, culturally vibrant, united, well-governed and truly democratic nation”.  That was despite the fact that punitive measures continued to be taken against Fiji since 2006, including travel sanctions, which had “significant, adverse effects on our economy”, and prevented Fiji from participating in important meetings abroad, despite their interest in constructive engagements with the international community, he said.

In closing, he noted that Fiji was not able to schedule an election in early 2009, as earlier anticipated, due to work still under way to improve its electoral system.  That system was “undemocratic” and “contravenes the principle of equal suffrage”.  He also offered assurances to the international community in the form of his personal and deep commitment to “breaking the cycle of coups”, and obtaining a democratic and just governance.

[Source: GA/10756]