18 Feb 2014

Fiji-Australia meeting "a successful first date": academic

2:45 pm on 18 February 2014

An international relations specialist following Fiji-Australia relations has likened last week's meeting between the two sides to a Valentine's Day love-in.

Australia's foreign minister, Julie Bishop, held talks with Fiji's prime minister, Commodore Frank Bainimarama, in Suva last week during a visit by the Ministerial Contact Group of the Pacific Islands Forum.

It was the first top level meeting between the two sides since 2008.

Dr Richard Herr says both sides went out of their way to make it a successful first date, avoiding raising issues that would disrupt the budding relationship.

"What it does do is give a chance for Australia and Fiji to make sure the election isn't the only purpose for restoring relationships ... we can start before the election, we can start looking at areas where the relationship has become mutually toxic and unhelpful and try and produce a more balanced relationship, so it doesn't all depend on whether we like the outcome of the election."

Dr Richard Herr of the University of Tasmania and the University of Fiji.