1 Dec 2011

Australian watchdog wants rethink on Fiji sanctions

5:07 pm on 1 December 2011

A new report into Australia's relationship with the Pacific is calling for the immediate and unconditional lifting of regional sanctions against the Fiji interim government.

It also suggests re-engaging with the Bainimarama regime through the Pacific Islands Forum.

The report entitled Our Near Abroad: Australia and Pacific Islands regionalism has been issued by the Australian Strategic Policy Institute.

One of its co-authors, Richard Herr, says the Forum and countries like Australia should work co-operatively with Fiji rather than stand apart as a kind of policeman enforcing views.

"We've looked around at the way in which the sanctions against Fiji have operated in the year since the coup and not only have they had very little effect but the island states generally have not participated in those sanctions themselves. I understand the tensions but equally you'd have to agree if you beat your head against a brick wall for five years and you haven't got anything to show for it except a sore head maybe you do need to look at a different strategy."

Australian Strategic Policy Institute's Richard Herr.