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Showing posts from May 3, 2015

No NGO Presence at PACER Meeting a Concern

No NGO contribution to PACER-Plus talks 'concerning'Updated at 3:00 pm today ·
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· The Fiji-based NGO, Diverse Voices and Action for Equality, or DIVA, says civil society groups not being allowed to have a voice in the PACER-Plus negotiations this week is of concern. This round of negotiations on the regional free trade agreement, being held in Port Vila in Vanuatu, are expected to wrap up today. The political advisor for DIVA, Noelene Nabulivou, says the agreement will impinge on Pacific governments to regulate fiscal, trade, aid and development policy, and will impact the lives of Pacific people. She says it is worrying that the private sector has been allowed to attend the talks, but civil society groups have not. "The ongoing issue is how do you ensure that the most diverse Pacific Islanders possible, the most diverse Australians and New Zealanders have access to this negotiating text. Because if there really was nothing for us to worry about, then we would be in …

PM on Role of Australia and New Zealand

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Fiji will continue to participate in all Pacific Islands Forum activities except the Forum Leaders’ meeting. Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama said this yesterday “to set the record straight” because there appeared to be confusion about Fiji’s position. Mr Bainimarama said: “We will continue to participate in all Forum activities at the public service, technical and ministerial levels. The PIF Secretariat will, of course, continue to be headquartered in Fiji. But as Head of Government, I will not participate in any Forum Leaders’ Meeting until the issue of the undue influence of Australia and New Zealand and our divergence of views is addressed.” Mr Bainimarama made the comments when he opened a meeting of development partners at the Novotel Suva Lami Bay to decide on a draft agreement to institutionalise the Pacific Islands Development Forum. He said: “Australia and New Zealand are not island nations. And we believe that they are more development partners such as the European Union,…