6 Aug 2014

PNG rejects Fiji Forum claims

8:13 pm on 6 August 2014

Papua New Guinea's Foreign Minister has denied a claim that his government reneged on a commitment to support Fiji's candidate for the role of Pacific Islands Forum Secretary-General.

The claim by the Fiji Sun newspaper followed the selection of PNG's nominee Meg Taylor to the role at last week's Forum leaders summit in Palau.

Johnny Blades reports

"The Fiji Sun article claims PNG reneged on an earlier commitment it made with other Melanesian Spearhead Group countries to support the candidacy of Fiji's Kaliopate Tavola for Forum Secretary-General. It says that PNG subsequently induced other countries to support its own candidate with financial assistance packages. PNG's Foreign Minister Rimbink Pato has described the claim as inaccurate and potentially damaging to relations between PNG and Fiji. He says that nomination of Mr Tavola was unsuccessful due to technical irregularities in the application, compounded by the fact that Fiji is currently suspended from the Forum. At any rate, the other finalist in the selection of Secretary-General was Jimmy Rodgers from Solomon Islands, casting doubt on the Fiji regime's claim to have secured unanimous support from MSG countries."

Papua New Guinea Foreign Minister Rimbink Pato.

Papua New Guinea Foreign Minister Rimbink Pato. Photo: RNZI / Johnny Blades