Swire: Fiji belongs to the C’wealth

Main Stories, National

The National, Thursday 18th April 2013

 THE British government is concerned about recent developments in Fiji which led to its suspension from the Commonwealth, according to visiting Minister of State for the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Hugo Swire.

Swire, who is in Port Moresby for the Commonwealth Youth Ministers meeting, told a Port Moresby Chamber of Commerce and Industry breakfast at the Royal Papua Yacht Club yesterday that Fiji should be pressed to hold fair elections this year.

Ironically, his comments came at a time when Fiji Prime Minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama is in Port Moresby with a business delegation from the islands.

“For example, I recently visited the flagship Tate and Lyle facility on Docklands in London’s East End – 800 jobs in the capital of the UK which exist, thanks to trade with the Pacific region – in this case refining sugar from Fiji,” Swire said.

“It’s another reason why the British government, like so many throughout the region, is concerned at recent developments in Fiji and those which led to its suspension from the Commonwealth.

“We must all continue to press the Fijian government to honour its commitment to hold credible, democratic and independently-supervised elections this year.

“Should democracy be restored, we stand ready to consider further assistance and look forward to the day we can again admit Fiji into the Commonwealth of Nations – where she belongs.”