5 Feb 2010

Fiji democracy group says NZ and Australia need to be cautious about restoring ties

12:09 pm on 5 February 2010

A New Zealand-based Fiji democracy group says Canberra and Wellington should be cautious as they attempt to restore diplomatic ties with the military-led regime in Suva.

The foreign ministers of Australia and New Zealand met with their Fiji counterpart, Ratu Inoke Kubuabola this week to discuss ways to improve relations and strengthen their diplomatic missions.

Nik Naidu, a spokesperson for the Coalition for Democracy in Fiji, says there is now an opportunity to improve the situation in Fiji.

But he says full engagement with Fiji cannot happen until the regime refrains from abusing human rights, reinstates proper laws, and ends media censorship.

"You need to be optimistic about these things but at the same time you need to be cautious because we are dealing with an illegal military regime and they have in the past changed the game plan and reneged on promises."

Nik Naidu says nominating a military figure, Lieutenant Colonel Neumi Leweni, to represent Fiji in Wellington is not a good sign that Fiji is genuine about reengaging with New Zealand.