1 May 2009

Two Samoas settle Fiji spat

1:31 pm on 1 May 2009

American Samoa's US Congressman and the Prime Minister of Samoa have moved to end their spat over Fiji.

Faleomavaega Eni Hunkin says he does not want to argue with Prime Minister, Tuilaepa Sailele, but he says he has every right to comment on issues affecting the region.

He maintains his position that Australia or New Zealand should not dictate policy for the U.S. when it comes to relations with Fiji or any other Pacific nation.

Faleomavaega says he can appreciate New Zealand and Australia's efforts, but the U.S. must participate actively in the process.

Meanwhile, Samoa's Prime Minister says he also has no wish to prolong the argument, but wants to convey the deep sense of frustration felt by Pacific leaders over Fiji's continued rejection of efforts to get it back to democracy.

He says Faleomavaega has every right to speak his mind, but he says the region's leaders have been trying vainly to deal with Commodore Frank Bainimarama since the coup in 2006.

Tuilaepa says the Commodore, despite assistance from member countries - including assistance from Samoa which was given and carried out in good faith - made absolutely no attempt to even prepare for an election.