23 Apr 2009

Faleomavaega urges new US focus on Fiji issue

6:06 pm on 23 April 2009

The United States secretary of State Hillary Clinton has requested the American Samoan Congressman's direct advice and support in dealing with the crisis in Fiji and developing a more comprehensive US policy toward the Pacific region.

Faleomavaega Eni Hunkin has met Hillary Clinton who testified for the first time before the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

Faleomavaega says having recently returned from Fiji for discussions with the interim prime minister and other leaders, he feels that the situation in Fiji is more complex than it appears.

He told Secretary Clinton that in his view, the US has permitted Australia and New Zealand to take the lead in the Pacific for too long while Washington has lacked a coherent policy toward Pacific island nations.

The Congressman says it makes no sense for the leaders of New Zealand and Australia to demand early elections in Fiji while there are fundamental deficiencies in Fiji's electoral process.