18 Aug 2010

Fiji Foreign Minister praises Australian Opposition's negotiation pledge

5:25 pm on 18 August 2010

Fiji's interim government is welcoming a pledge by Australia's opposition that, if elected, it will open negotiations with Fiji's military ruler, Commodore Frank Bainimarama.

At last week's foreign policy debate in Canberra, the coalition foreign affairs spokeswoman Julie Bishop promised to open negotiations for electoral reform with the interim Prime Minister as a way of easing tensions between the two countries.

Fiji's Foreign Minister Ratu Inoke Kubuaboa says this is a "positive indicator" and Fiji's keen to engage with nations interested in backing its reforms in the lead up to 2014 elections.

He criticised Australia's Foreign Minister, Stephen Smith, saying his interference policy had severed ties between Australia and Fiji.