3 Feb 2010

NZ, Australia and Fiji Foreign Ministers meet for talks in Canberra

8:56 pm on 3 February 2010

Fiji's foreign minister Ratu Inoke Kubuabola is tonight due to have talks with his Australian and New Zealand counterparts in Canberra in an apparent bid to heal diplomatic rifts.

Australia's Foreign Minister Stephen Smith has confirmed he invited Ratu Inoke to the trilateral meeting to discuss restoring senior envoys to their posts in Australia, Fiji and New Zealand after the reciprocal expulsions last November.

New Zealand's Foreign Minister Murray McCully has said that since New Zealand's High Commissioner to Fiji was expelled, the country's diplomatic influence in Fiji had been deteriorating to the extent where "the viability of New Zealand's operations was under threat".

Ratu Inoke's presence at the talks means he is the first Fiji interim government minister to be in Canberra since Australia placed a travel ban on members of Fiji's military-led regime following the 2006 coup.