30 Jan 2012

Foreign Minister of Russia to visit Fiji

6:45 am on 30 January 2012

The Foreign Minister of Russia will be paying a visit to Fiji this week.

Sergey Lavrov's stop-over is part of a five-country tour of the Asia Pacific region including New Zealand and Australia.

Media in Australia are reporting that the Russian embassy in Canberra has ruled out lobbying Fiji to recognise the break-away regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia as independent states.

A senior fellow at the New Zealand Centre for Strategic Studies Terrence O'Brien says the visit is no surprise as Russia has diplomatic relations with Fiji.

"I doubt that the Russians have in mind any ideas for supporting or giving extra encouragement to Commodore Bainimarama. I wouldn't have thought that's on their agenda at all."

Terrence O'Brien says Russia's visit to the South Pacific demonstrates its interest in the region.