11 Feb 2011

Fiji and Tonga take wrestle over Minerva Reef to the United Nations

4:48 pm on 11 February 2011

Fiji's interim government says there is no offical dispute with Tonga over who governs the Minerva Reef but United Nations officials of both countries are discussing its ownership.

The Director of politics and treaties at Fiji's ministry of foreign affairs, Sainivalati Navoti, says the issue is historical and Tonga requested the talks in New York.

He says so far the officials have had one talk which was helpful for Fiji in clarifying Tonga's position on the reef.

He says he can't elaborate fully until talks and analysis are completed.

He says it may be possible for Fiji to explore and exploit any resources that might exist at the reef in the future.

"The government of Fiji reiterates its position, that as far as it's concerned Minerva Reef is a reef. And as such it lies within the economic, exclusive economic zone of Fiji. And the government of Fiji reserves its right within its directory."

The director of politics and treaties for Fiji's ministry of foreign affairs, Sainivalati Navoti.