10 Aug 2005

US ambassador designate to Fiji promises to foster regional stability

10:35 am on 10 August 2005

The new United States ambassador to Fiji says fostering regional stability and eliciting support for the war on terrorism will be among his top priorities.

Radio Fiji reports that Larry Dinger made the comment at his confirmation hearings before the United States Senate foreign relations committee in Washington.

Mr Dinger, who will also be accredited to Tonga, Tuvalu and Nauru, said Tonga and Tuvalu had become early members of the Coalition of the Willing to liberate Iraq.

As well, Fiji and Tonga had contributed military personnel for operations in Iraq and joined in global peacekeeping operations.

He said US security assistance programmes to both Fiji and Tonga will help their military enhance their professionalism and peacekeeping capabilities.

On Fiji, Mr Dinger said the country is still struggling over whether and how to apportion blame and punishment to the perpetrators of the 2000 coup.

He said Fiji's new parliamentary elections scheduled for next year would be a test for the resilience of its democracy.

Mr Dinger will arrive in Fiji next week.