31 Jan 2012

Vanuatu PM cancels Fiji trip

7:27 pm on 31 January 2012

Vanuatu Prime Minister, Sato Kilman, has cancelled his trip to Fiji planned for this afternoon.

Mr Kilman's decision means that the Vanuatu delegation will be led by the foreign minister, Alfred Carlot, and Vanuatu's new roving ambassador to Russia, Thi Tham Goiset.

The purpose of their Fiji visit has not been made public but sources say they are to meet the Russian foreign minister, Sergey Lavrov, who is due for an official visit.

Mrs Goiset was recently chosen for the posting under a reported deal that she gets a 15-percent cut of any funds she can secure from Moscow on behalf of the Vanuatu government.

Last year, Vanuatu acceded to Russian lobbying and now recognises the Georgian break-away regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia as independent countries.

Georgia says it hopes Fiji will adhere to international principles and not recognise the two Russian-backed regions.