24 Oct 2016

Fiji's ties with Russia 'not unreasonable' - NZ PM

3:16 pm on 24 October 2016

New Zealand's Prime Minister John Key says he's not concerned about Fiji forging stronger ties with Russia.

John Key and Frank Bainimarama

John Key and Frank Bainimarama Photo: RNZ / Alex Perrottet

Before the Fiji Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama arrived in New Zealand last week, several MPs visited Russia to sign agreements on the supply of new technology and also military and defence assistance.

Since the 2006 coup and Fiji's suspension from the Pacific Islands Forum, Fiji has established new relationships with countries like China and Russia as part of its 'Look North Policy.'

Mr Bainimarama has criticised New Zealand for not understanding his vision for Fiji, but Mr Key said it is reasonable that Fiji, which has an active military involved in world peacekeeping missions, has such dealings.

"They've got quite large numbers of people," he said.

"I asked him how many people they've got in Iraq and I think it's actually more people than we've got. They've got a couple of hundred people in peacekeeping roles so it's kind of not unreasonable that they have discussions with other countries."

Mr Bainimarama left New Zealand at the weekend.

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