19 Jun 2014

Indonesia and Fiji to push relationship

4:42 am on 19 June 2014

An expert on Melanesia says the Indonesian president's presence at the Pacific Islands Development Forum demonstrates both countries' push to develop international relationships.

The president, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, arrived in Fiji last night for the second summit of the Forum.

The Inaugural Pacific Islands development Forum, 2013

The inaugural Pacific Islands Development Forum, 2013 Photo: RNZ

The Lowy Institute's Melanesia programme director, Jenny Hayward-Jones, says it is very important for Fiji to be hosting someone as important as President Yudhoyono.

She says the Indonesian government wants to send a message that it values its relationship with Melanesian countries.

But she says the West Papua discussion is unlikely to be discussed.

I think probably you'll see avoidance of the West Papua issue if anything. But I think what you'll see is the Indonesian president talk about the importance of more economic ties, more trade and investment, certainly there's opportunities for that, more educational ties between Indonesia and the region and probably offering to help Pacific Island countries interact more with Asian countries.

The Lowy Institute's Jenny Hayward-Jones