28 Jan 2010

New study suggests Australia should re-engage with Fiji

11:04 am on 28 January 2010

A new study calls on Australia to prepare the grounds for reengagement with Fiji's military regime by eliminating irritants such as travels bans, and provocative public rhetoric.

A paper released by the Australian Strategic Policy Institute says such measures have intensified feelings of distrust within the Fiji government.

Jo O'Brien has more

"The paper's author Professor Richard Herr of the University of Fiji says travel bans against family members of those who remained in their post after the coup are unfair and should be eliminated. He says the reach of Fiji's suspension from the Pacific Islands Forum should be limited to forum-only events."

Professor Herr says Fiji should be readmitted to the PACER Plus trade negotiations without conditions but with the expectation that it will play a positive role in talks. He says defence bans with Fiji should be relaxed, and positive engagement with Fiji's military forces and government would be facilitated by assisting with non-security matters such as search and rescue and disaster management.