21)Fiji leader takes umbrage with PM Key
By Online Editor-11:13 am GMT+12, 26/05/2011, Fiji
Fiji’s military Commander Commodore Frank Bainimarama has told Prime Minister John Key to butt out of Fijian affairs.
His comment followed Key saying earlier this week that New Zealand would consider allowing runaway Fiji Lieutenant Colonel Tevita Mara entry into New Zealand.
Mara fled to Tonga, where he remains, ahead of charges that he was plotting the overthrow of Bainimarama who came to power in a democracy ending coup in 2006.
“It would be a matter of concern for everyone if John Key allowed him into New Zealand,” Bainimarama told Auckland’s Indian radio station Tarana.
He said such a decision would mean Key was reneging on his earlier intention to review the relationship between Wellington and Suva.
“Obviously he is not very serious about that, he is obviously trying to put a wedge between Tonga and Fiji's relationship.” Bainimarama said a Key decision to let Mara in would be “most unfortunate.”
“One might want to ask if New Zealand wants to give political asylum to anybody who does wrong, not only in Fiji but also in other countries or is he just targeting Fiji.
“John Key has been harping about democracy in Fiji,” he told Tarana.
“If this is what democracy means to be a refuge to wrong doers this is obviously not the direction or path Fiji wants to take. “He is trying to make life difficult for us in Fiji but he is not going to succeed.”
Bainimarama said his advise to Key was “stay out of our business, it is between Fiji and Tonga.” -SOURCE: STUFF NZ/PACNEWS
22)FIJI LEADER URGES NEW ZEALAND NOT TO ACCEPT MARA
Political asylum would further strain relations
WELLINGTON, New Zealand (RNZI, May 25, 2011) -
Fiji’s interim prime minister, Commodore Frank Bainimarama, says if New Zealand offers asylum to Ratu Tevita Uluilakeba Mara, it will further strain relations between the two nations.The New Zealand Prime Minister, John Key, says since Ratu Tevita is no longer a supporter of the regime he may be allowed into the country, though no approach has been made.Commodore Bainimarama has told local media it’s sad to see the New Zealand government wants to further strain relations.[PIR editor’s note: Fiji Village reports Bainimarama is also questioning the New Zealand government’s continued block of a number of sports players from entering the country to take part in tournaments.]
Radio New Zealand International: http://www.rnzi.com/
23)Tonga says no need to activate the Biketawa declaration over Fiji spatTonga’s acting attorney general says there is no need for the Biketawa declaration to be invoked to deal with the current diplomatic spat between his country and Fiji.Fiji’s Citizens’ Constitutional Forum is calling for the Pacific Islands Forum to consider initiating the declaration before the situation over a former Fiji soldier who sought refuge in Tonga escalates.
The Biketawa Declaration was agreed by Pacific Islands Forum countries in 2000, and outlines courses of action for a regional response to crises.Samiu Vaipulu says there is no need for it.“I think this can be dealt with. There’s no need for interference from outside at the moment. We can settle our issues with Fiji not involving the forum.”
Tonga’s acting attorney general, Samiu Vaipulu- 26/5/11 Radio New Zealand International
24)Tonga receives Mara extradition request from Fiji, but says it will take time to sort through
Posted at 03:39 on 26 May, 2011 UTC
Tonga’s acting attorney general says there is no rush to examine the extradition application for a former Fiji soldier which his office received today.Fiji is seeking the extradition of Lieutanant Colonel Ratu Tevita Uluilakeba Mara, who fled to Fiji while facing sedition charges, saying he feared he would not get a fair trial.Samiu Vaipulu says the application is a large box, which will take some time to sort through.“It will have to go through due process, through the court system, through what our extradition act provides. That’s what we will follow. This is an issue that will need time to look at things properly. We don’t have to rush.”Samiu Vaipulu says he is working with the solicitor general’s office over the application.radio new zealand.
25)TONGA, FIJI ROW EXTENDS TO DISPUTED REEFS
Tonga accuses Fiji of vandalizing navigation beacon
New Zealand (RNZI, May 25, 2011) -
The Tonga government says there’s strong evidence that the Fiji military vandalized a navigation beacon on the Minerva Reefs earlier this year.Tonga and Fiji have been at loggerheads over the ownership of the Reefs for years.In a statement, Tonga’s chief secretary, Busby Kautoke, says the matter has become woven into what he calls the humanitarian rescue earlier this month of a former Fiji military officer.Lieutenant Colonel Ratu Tevita Uluilakeba Mara has since found sanctuary in Nuku’alofa, evading prosecution in Fiji for sedition.
Mr. Kautoke says much has been made of the question of sovereignty in an incident which is wholly concerned with a rescue at sea and a purely humanitarian act.He says disputes in international law are never simple, but require diligence and clarity.He added that the overall question of sovereignty should therefore address the violation of Tongan sovereignty on the Minerva Reefs, early this year.
Radio New Zealand International: http://www.rnzi.com/
26)Tonga accuses Fiji military of damaging safety beacon
Tonga has accused Fiji's military of deliberately vandalising a navigation and safety beacon on the disputed Minerva Reef.It is the latest accusation in a period of tense relations between the neighbours, after a Tongan Patrol boat was involved in the escape of a senior Fiji military officer facing sedition charges.Lieutenant Colonel Ratu Tevita Mara is currently in Tonga under the protection of the royal family.
A Tongan Government statement says there is strong evidence to suggest that the Fiji military caused the damage to the safety beacon.Meanwhile, Fiji's interim Prime Minister, Frank Bainimarama, says democratic elections will be held in 2014 as he has promised.
Commodore Bainimarama has also dismissed a claim by Lt Col Mara that he is merely a puppet of the interim Attorney General, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum.
Excerpts of report from
Monsieur P's desk
Voice of Melanesia.