1 Oct 2010

US to boost links with NZ and Australia in approach to Fiji

2:27 pm on 1 October 2010

The US Secretary of State for East Asia says Washington is boosting diplomacy with New Zealand and Australia as it is striving for progress towards democracy in Fiji.

Kurt Campbell was responding to American Samoa's US Congressman, Faleomavaega Eni Hunkin, at the Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Asia the Pacific and the Global Environment.

Faleomavaega says New Zealand and Australian policies towards Fiji have been counterproductive.

Mr Campbell says he understands the Congressman's plea for dialogue, adding that some progress was made at the UN General Assembly.

"At the Pacific leaders forum, Secretary Clinton very graciously engaged the Foreign Minister and indicated that it is high on the American priority to figure out if there's a way that we can be helpful in engaging diplomatically. I must also say we are stepping up our coordination and dialogue with New Zealand and Australia who we also believe have key critical interests in Fiji as a whole."

Kurt Campbell says the US wants to ensure that Fiji's interim government keeps to its commitment to hold elections by 2014.