12 Nov 2009

New Zealand academic denies value in direct government to government talks with Fiji

7:23 pm on 12 November 2009

A member of New Zealand's Centre for Strategic Studies says there's no point in the New Zealand government trying to speak directly to the leader of Fiji's interim regime.

The comment, from Dr Rod Alley, comes amid mounting calls for the governments of New Zealand and Australia to start talking with Commodore Frank Bainimarama and follows a flurry of diplomatic expulsions.

Dr Alley says Sir Paul Reeves' meeting with the Commodore showed that any discussions with him are unlikely to result in a start to dialogue within Fiji, and a more subtle approach is needed.

"Maybe somebody who's got wider Pacific links through the Forum could say well, a spat and it's getting worse between New Zealand and Fiji is only simply going to damage the wider region. But I have to say the man's conduct lately has been pretty obdurate and these options of somehow getting a line to Bainimarama are going to take patience and I'm afraid some time."

Dr Rod Alley of New Zealand's Centre for Strategic Studies.