07 May 2015 TONGAN The Prime Minister Hon. Samuela 'Akilisi Pohiva referred to his meeting with Fiji‟s Prime Minister, Frank Voreqe Bainimara, as “warm and cordial, and the beginning of a relationship that would be of mutual benefit to both countries.”
The two Prime Ministers met at the Yatule Resort in Sigatoka on Tuesday 5 May, in what has been described as “personal and engaging.”
“I am very pleased with our meeting which was conducted in a very relaxed manner, and we also had dinner together and did more sharing about issues that concern Tonga and Fiji,” Prime Minister Pohiva said.
“We discussed a whole range of issues that included Regional Architecture and PIDF; Fiji Airways and possible flights to Vava‟u; Teleki Tonga and Teleki Tokelau; as well as Spying in the Pacific by the big Powers.”
“We also shared deeply on the kind of issues that constitute socio-political reform, and talked about each other‟s views on many things.”
Prime Minister Pohiva said that discussions on Pacific Islands Development Forum (PIDF) allowed him to express directly to Fiji‟s Prime Minister, Tonga‟s position in relation to PIDF and Pacific Islands Forum (PIF).
Fiji is still outside PIF despite the invitation to return to its membership that was suspended due to the 2006 coup. The door for re-entry was opened again since Fiji held democratic elections in September 2014.
Fiji‟s Prime Minister has expressed a willingness to return to the Forum if Australia and New Zealand cease to play a prominent political role in PIF.
While Fiji was suspended from PIF, it became the leader among mostly Melanesian island nations, in forming PIDF. Australia and New Zealand are excluded from membership or participation in PIDF.
“Tonga is supportive of PIDF and the development ideas of the organization, but that does not mean we are against PIF or wants PIDF to be an alternative to PIF,” said Prime Minister Pohiva.
“These two organizations need to co-exist as they would fulfill different functions and different focus in their separate activities.”
Prime Minister Pohiva also discussed with Prime Minister Bainimarama Tonga‟s wish to open a Consulate in Fiji.
“We would very much like to open a Consulate in Fiji, as Fiji is still the hub in the Southern Pacific, and will offer us great convenience in trade, transportation, tourism, and other areas that are part of our regional plan.”
Prime Minister Pohiva leaves Fiji for New Zealand on Thursday 7 May.