8 Mar 2012

Renewed war of words between Samoa and Fiji leaders

4:11 pm on 8 March 2012

There is a renewed war of words between Samoa's prime minister, Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi, and Fiji's interim prime minister, Commodore Frank Bainimarama.

Tuilaepa has told the ABC that the Pacific doesn't need a dictator in its midst as it destroys the image of the Pacific, pointing out that Commodore Bainimarama reneged on his 2007 promise to hold elections within two years.

Tuilaepa says it is important for Pacific leaders to speak out as Fiji is run at the point of a gun.

His comment comes after Commodore Bainimarama agreed with a suggestion by Sky TV's Graham Davis that Tuilaepa was a puppet of Australia and New Zealand.

In the interview, Commodore Bainimarama alleged that Tuilaepa's criticism was the result of chequebook diplomacy of Australia and New Zealand.

According to AUSAid figures, Fiji gets 40 million US dollars in aid from Australia in this financial year, 14 percent less than Samoa.