30 Jul 2013

Fiji attack on Australia part of its global repositioning says academic

5:00 am on 30 July 2013

An academic with Fiji's Centre for International and Regional Affairs says Suva's attack on Australia's new asylum seeker policy is part of Fiji's repositioning on the regional and global stage.

The Fiji regime says Australia's deal with Papua New Guinea to allow refugees to settle in PNG is a continuation of its high handed and arrogant policies toward the region.

Professor Richard Herr says it is significant the criticism comes just before next week's meeting of a new Fiji-instigated regional grouping which was set up in competition to the Pacific Islands Forum.

He says Australia's domestic politics might also have brought on the attack.

"If the attack on the PNG solution was motivated by the Australian change in leadership it might have been a deliberate attempt to make some points against the Rudd government and its failure to re-engage properly."

Professor Herr says there are fears in Suva the new policy would add to the difficulties of nation-building in Melanesian countries which are very important to Fiji.