22 Feb 2010

Silent diplomacy between New Zealand and Fiji is working says academic

3:31 pm on 22 February 2010

A Fiji academic says the announcement of diplomatic appointments to Wellington and Suva are a sign that New Zealand's strategy of silent diplomacy is working.

After a meeting between New Zealand and Fiji's foreign ministers, it's been announced that Mere Tora is now the First Secretary and Acting Head of Mission at the Fiji High Commission in Wellington, while Phillip Taula will take up equivalent positions in Suva.

Dr Steven Ratuva, from the University of Auckland's Centre for Pacific Studies, says that suggests the controversial nomination of the interim regime's spokesman, Lieutenant Colonel Neumi Leweni, to be a representative in Wellington has been shelved.

"That probably was not a very sensitive move given the situation at the moment, the tense situation. But I think what they did was went back, and involve in what is usually known as silent diplomacy and they came out publicly after a consensus, and I think in terms of strategy, I think it was a very good move."

Dr Ratuva says working to ease the travel ban on members of the Fiji regime will be a top priority for Mere Tora.