The Fijian government has criticised Australia’s asylum deal with Papua New Guinea during a business forum in Brisbane.
Fiji’s foreign minister Ratu Inoke Kubuabola has accused Australia of using its economic muscle to persuade PNG to accept thousands of people who are not Pacific Islanders into its country.
“For an Australian problem you have proposed a Melanesian solution that threatens to destabilise the already delicate social and economic balances in our societies,” he said.
“This deal reveals a pattern of behaviour that is inconsiderate, prescriptive, high handed and arrogant.”
He says the deal has been made to solve a domestic political problem for short-term political gain, and without any consultation.
[PIR editor’s note: Radio New Zealand International reported that Ratu Inoke “demanded Australia consult its Melanesian neighbours over plans to move asylum seekers into the region.”]
Relations between Fiji and Australia have remained frosty since the 2006 coup led by Frank Bainimarama.
Source: The Pacific Islands Report