25 Sep 2007

Fiji's Bainimarama says anti-coup lobbyists won't matter in NY

5:38 pm on 25 September 2007

Fiji's interim prime minister says he is not bothered by planned lobbying against him by a Suva-based NGO when he addresses the United Nations General Assembly in New York on Friday.

The director of the Pacific Centre or Public Integrity, Angie Heffernan, says she is leaving Fiji to speak with New York-based human rights groups like Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International.

She says she will meet with foreign government representatives and UN officials to raise issues regarding human rights abuses in Fiji, the erosion of the independence of the judiciary and the rule of law, and the militarization of the civil service.

But the interim prime minister, Commodore Frank Bainimarama, has told Radio Legend that he is not concerned by Ms Heffernan's plans because her trip to New York will achieve nothing for Fiji.

He says his trip will end up in the General Assembly while Ms Heffernan's trip will end up in the streets.

Commodore Bainimarama said last week that NGO representatives like Ms Heffernan are expressing the views of foreign governments because they are paid by these countries.

Meanwhile, Commodore Bainimarama has confirmed that the interim foreign minister, Ratu Epeli Nailatikau, will be acting as interim prime minister until he returns on October the 5th.

Last week, Commodore Bainimarama said any of 200,000 people in Fiji could act as his replacement.