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Fiji minister cool on rejoining 'irrelevant' Commonwealth

21 ноября 2013, 14:27
Foreign Minister of Fiji Ratu Inoke Kubuabola. ©Reuters/Keith Bedford
Foreign Minister of Fiji Ratu Inoke Kubuabola. ©Reuters/Keith Bedford
Fiji's foreign minister has labelled the Commonwealth "irrelevant" and said the Pacific nation is in no hurry to rejoin the international organisation that suspended it four years ago, AFP reports.

The grouping of mainly British ex-colonies said in a statement this week that it looked forward to Fiji returning to the Commonwealth once democracy is restored in elections scheduled for September next year.

But Foreign Minister Inoke Kubuabola said Fiji did not need the Commonwealth and it was "irrelevant".

"We are not really over eager to go back to the Commonwealth and we are not asking to go back to the Commonwealth," he told the fijisun.com website.

The Commonwealth suspended Fiji in 2009 after military leader Voreqe Bainimarama reneged on a promise to hold elections in the wake of a coup he led three years earlier.

Since then, Fiji's relations with traditional Commonwealth allies such as Australia and New Zealand have been strained and it has attempted to cultivate new ties with countries such as China and Russia.

The Commonwealth statement, released Sunday at a meeting of the organisation's leaders in Sri Lanka, said Fiji was expected to be reinstated as a full member after "the restoration of constitutional civilian democracy, the rule of law and human rights".

The Commonwealth would offer support for electoral preparations, including sending observers.

It urged Fiji to set up an electoral commission to ensure "credible and inclusive elections on a level playing field".

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