26 Jul 2013

Fiji won't accept Australian High Commissioner before poll

7:00 pm on 26 July 2013

Fiji's prime minister, Commodore Frank Bainimarama, says his government will not accept a new Australian high commissioner until Australia stops trying to damage his country.

Commodore Bainimarama has told Auckland based Radio Tarana the Australian government does not treat Fiji or the other Melanesian countries with consideration and respect.

A year ago Fiji, Australia and New Zealand agreed to restore full diplomatic relations but none of the countries has yet appointed people to the top roles, made vacant after Fiji expelled Canberra and Wellington's envoys.

Both countries then expelled the Fiji high commissioners in a tit for tat exercise.

Commodore Bainimarama says there will be a time when the relationship with Australia is properly restored and he predicts that will come with next year's planned election.

"But I can tell you that if I win the election, we can rebuild the relationship but it won't be the same relationship. It won't be Fiji kowtowing to Canberra. We want a genuine partnership with genuine friends - governments that treat us as equals and with respect. We might be small but our vote at the UN has the same weight as Australia's."