25 Jul 2008

Australia drops objection to Ganilau as Nadi meeting chair

1:44 pm on 25 July 2008

Australia has dropped its objections to the Fiji interim defence minister, Ratu Epeli Ganilau, chairing a regional meeting in Nadi yesterday.

The Pacific Regional Disaster Risk Management Meeting was to be headed by the interim minister, but according to Fiji media that was opposed by officials from Australia and New Zealand which have remained critical of those linked to the 2006 military coup.

Although Ratu Epeli bowed to the objectionst, other Pacific delegates are reported to have disagreed with the Australian and New Zealand stance.

But now Australia's high commission has issued a statement to say Canberra has no objections to the arrangements put in place for the meeting, including the appointment of Ratu Epeli Ganilau as Chair, and that it is pleased that the meeting is proceeding today.

Australia has budgeted nearly four million US dollars this financial year on disaster risk management in the Pacific.