6 Mar 2018

Shock over Fiji climate negotiator's sudden departure

1:32 pm on 6 March 2018

A former Fiji foreign secretary says he's shocked but not surprised at the sudden departure of the country's chief climate negotiator midway through her term.

Fiji's Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama at the United Nations office in Geneva with Nazhat Shameem Khan in blue.

Nazhat Shameem Khan Photo: Supplied

Nazhat Shameem Khan left her role last week without any explanation and the retired Fiji diplomat Robin Nair said it was out of character for her to abandon something she has committed to.

The circumstances of Ms Shameem Khan's departure are unclear.

The Fiji government has said in a statement that she would focus on her duties as the country's Permanent Representative to the UN in Geneva.

Ms Shameem Khan's climate role included formal negotiations as part of Fiji's year long presidency of the current UN climate round, the COP23.

Robin Nair said she may have done too well in the role.

"I was shocked but I wasn't surprised. It's a very dysfunctional government and anybody with strong opinions trying to intellectually help the government to be a better government and have good governance, they haven't got a place.

"There's only room for one person and if he feels threatened in any way, and he feels threatened very quickly, she is dispensable very-very quickly."

Nazhat Shameem Khan and the Fiji government declined our request for comment.