1 Feb 2012

Vanuatu PM pulls out of Fiji trip

10:09 am on 1 February 2012

The Vanuatu Prime Minister, Sato Kilman, has pulled out of a trip to Fiji.

Mr Kilman's decision means that the Vanuatu delegation will be led by the foreign minister, Alfred Carlot, and Vanuatu's new roving ambassador to Russia, Thi Tham Goiset.

The purpose of their Fiji visit has not been made public but sources say they are to meet the Russian foreign minister, Sergey Lavrov, who is due for an official visit.

Mrs Goiset was recently chosen for the posting under a reported deal that she gets a 15-percent cut of any funds she can secure from Moscow on behalf of the Vanuatu government.

Last year, Vanuatu acceded to Russian lobbying and now recognises the Georgian break-away regions of Abkhasia and South Ossetia as independent countries.

Georgia says it hopes Fiji will adhere to international principles and not recognise the two Russian-backed regions.