12 Feb 2009

Samoa PM stands firm on commenting on post-coup Fiji

3:51 pm on 12 February 2009

Samoa Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi says that commenting on the political situation in Fiji is the responsible thing for Pacific Islands leaders to do.

This is in response to recent comments by opposition MP Asiata Saleimoa Vaai, who came out in support of Fiji's military dictator Commodore Frank Bainimarama that Samoa should not be meddling in Fiji's affairs.

Tuilaepa has told the Government newspaper, Savali, that Asiata's comments are grossly irresponsible.

He says advising Fiji is the collective responsibility of Pacific Island leaders.

According to the Prime Minister his office has been inundated with calls from NGOs in Fiji to address the political situation in that country.

He says the reality is "we're all affected by what's happening in Fiji. "

Tuilaepa points out that most of the regional offices are based in Fiji, so financial assistance to the region is channeled through Suva.

Another factor is that there are hundreds of students attending universities in Suva and scores of Samoan professionals working there.