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PIDF not discussed with Fiji, Australia okay with Fiji’s Look North Policy

SUVA, 18 FEBRUARY 2014 (FBC NEWS) — The Pacific Ministerial Contact Group (MCG) did not discuss the establishment of the Pacific Islands Development Forum (PIDF) with the Fijian government.

MCG Chairman and New Zealand foreign minister Murray McCully says the issue of whether Australia and New Zealand are keen to join the group, was not raised either.

McCully confirmed the issue was not part of last week’s agenda.

“We do not discuss those matters, this is a Ministerial Contact Goup, its not within our mandate”.”

Fiji led the establishment of PIDF after its membership of the Pacific Islands Forum was suspended in 2009.

The PIDF is recognized by the United Nations. Its membership includes governments, private sector and non-governmental organizations across the Pacific.

Meanwhile, the four-month old Australian Liberal Party Coalition government has come out in full support of the Fijian government’s Look North Policy.

The Tony Abbot government has regarded Fiji a close family despite past attempts to derail the policy.

Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop says her government doesn’t feel the threat from Fiji’s efforts to enhance its relationships with the super powers of Asia.

“We would expect a strong regional power like Fiji to develop relationships with other countries.You don’t maintain the status quo.We’re always looking for new markets for our exports. We’re looking at developing free trade agreements with other countries but at the end of the day we remember who our friends and families are.”

Australia says it wants Fiji to regard it as partner of choice in trade, investment, development assistance, in educational exchanges and in private and public sector exchanges….

Source: PACNEWS

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