27 Aug 2012

Former Fiji foreign minister says strong Pacific voice vital for region

6:19 am on 27 August 2012

A former Fiji foreign minister says regionalism is still the way forward for the Pacific.

A draft copy of the New Zealand-funded review of the Forum Secretariat, says there is a perception among some member countries that particular staff of the Secretariat are not there to serve them, but to do bidding of two particular Forum countries.

That report is yet to be publiclly released, but leaders are expected to discuss it at their meeting in the Cook Islands this week.

But Fiji's pre-coup foreign minister, Kaliopate Tavola, says a strong Pacific voice is vital for the region.

"I know there is a lot of unhappiness that has been expressed, but I still believe that even though there may be some deficiencies in the management of the Forum Secretariat, and the regionalism concept, I still believe in the way forward, as the regional way to go."

A former Fiji Foreign Minister, Kaliopate Tavola.