30 Jun 2011

Vanuatu ambassador to UN to be recalled, says Foreign Minister

7:08 pm on 30 June 2011

Vanuatu's Foreign Minister, Alfred Carlot, says the country's ambassador to the United Nations is to be recalled.

The ambassador, former Prime Minister Donald Kalpokas, has been posted in New York since 2007.

His relationship with Vanuatu's Kilman government was highlighted earlier this month when he denied media reports that his country had forged diplomatic links with Abkhazia.

Days later, Mr Carlot confirmed that the government had agreed to recognise the sovereignty of the breakaway region of Georgia.

The Minister, who has since denied the agreement, says Mr Kalpokas' performance is a concern.

"We'll be probably recalling him sometime this week or next week. He's quite an old man, he's aged. We have a problem with his attendance. His performance is very poor. From the Department of Foreign Affairs, we have a full report update on his performance and it's very weak. In fact he's one of the weakest ambassadors that we've had since independence."

Alfred Carlot