Foreign relations of Fiji

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Coat of arms of Fiji.svg
This article is part of a series on the
politics and government of
Fiji

Fiji has experienced many coups recently, in 1987, 2000, and 2006. Fiji has been suspended various times from the Commonwealth of Nations, a grouping of mostly former British colonies. It was readmitted to the Commonwealth in December 2001, following the parliamentary election held to restore democracy in September that year, and has been suspended again because of the 2006 coup, but has been readmitted a second time after the 2014 election. Other Pacific Island governments have generally been sympathetic to Fiji's internal political problems and have declined to take public positions.

Fiji became the 127th member of the United Nations on 13 October 1970, and participates actively in the organization. Fiji's contributions to UN peacekeeping are unique for a nation of its size. A nation with a population of less than one million, it maintains nearly 1,000 soldiers overseas in UN peacekeeping missions, mainly in the Middle East.

Since Fiji's independence, the country has been a leader in the South Pacific region, and has played a leading role in the formation of the South Pacific Forum. Fiji has championed causes of common interest to Pacific Island countries.

Since 2005, Fiji has become embroiled in a number of disagreements with other countries, including Australia, China, New Zealand, South Korea, the United States, and Vanuatu.

The country's foreign relations and diplomatic missions are maintained by its Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation.

Diplomatic relations list[edit]

Countries with diplomatic relations with Fiji

List of countries which have established diplomatic relations with Fiji:[1]

  1.  Kiribati – Established, date unknown
  2.  Nauru – Established, date unknown
  3.  Niue – Established, date unknown
  4.  Solomon Islands – Established, date unknown
  5.  Timor-Leste – Established, date unknown, before 2013[2]
  6.  Vanuatu – Established, date unknown
  7.  Tonga – Established, date unknown
  8.  Pakistan – 8 March 1970
  9.  Israel – August 1970[3]
  10.  Australia – 10 October 1970
  11.  Canada – 10 October 1970
  12.  France – 10 October 1970
  13.  India – 10 October 1970
  14.  New Zealand – 10 October 1970
  15.  United Kingdom – 10 October 1970
  16.  Japan – 15 October 1970
  17.  Luxembourg – January 1971
  18.  United States – 22 July 1971
  19.  Singapore – 30 November 1971
  20.  Netherlands – February 1972
  21.  Cuba – 1 September 1972
  22.  Belgium – September 1972
  23.  Sri Lanka – September 1972
  24.  Chile – 10 October 1972
  25.  Italy – 13 October 1972
  26.  Thailand – December 1972
  27.  Egypt – 1972
  28.  Mali – 10 April 1973
  29.  Germany – 1 August 1973
  30.  Philippines – 18 December 1973
  31.  Russia – 30 January 1994
  32.  Indonesia – 1974
  33.  Malaysia – 1974
  34.  Samoa – 10 November 1974[4]
  35.  North Korea – 14 April 1975
  36.  Argentina – 30 April 1975
  37.  Senegal – 14 May 1975
  38.  Romania – 15 August 1975
  39.  Bahamas – 1 September 1975
  40.  Mexico – 1 September 1975
  41.  Papua New Guinea – 16 September 1975[5]
  42.  China – 5 November 1975
  43.  Turkey – 17 November 1975
  44.  Mongolia – 15 March 1976
  45.  Spain – 10 December 1976
  46.  Norway – 18 January 1977
  47.  Portugal – 21 February 1977
  48.  Finland – 1 December 1977
  49.  Tuvalu – 1977
  50.  Greece – 24 February 1978
  51.   Holy See – 12 September 1978
  52.  Sweden – 3 April 1979
  53.  Jamaica – 11 December 1979
  54.  Belize – 20 October 1981
  55.  Venezuela – 1983
  56.    Nepal – 12 June 1986
  57.  Seychelles – 4 December 1986
  58.  Colombia – 10 September 1987
  59.  Marshall Islands – 22 January 1988
  60.  Maldives – 15 March 1988
  61.  Federated States of Micronesia – 27 May 1989
  62.   Switzerland – 1989
  63.  Austria – 22 May 1992
  64.  Vietnam – 14 May 1993
  65.  South Africa – 7 November 1994
  66.  Slovakia – 8 July 1996
  67.  Czech Republic – 17 July 1996
  68.  Uruguay – 17 September 1996
  69.  Slovenia – 29 November 1996[6]
  70.  Croatia – 14 July 1997
  71.  Denmark – 1 December 1997
  72.  Cook Islands – 14 July 1998
  73.  Republic of Ireland – 19 February 2002
  74.  Swaziland – 14 March 2002
  75.  Bangladesh – 11 March 2003
  76.  Mauritius – 2 September 2003
  77.  Kuwait – 28 September 2005
  78.  Brazil – 16 February 2006
  79.  Peru – 2006[7]
  80.  South Korea – 17 September 2007
  81.  Dominican Republic – 27 September 2007
  82.  Iceland – 8 February 2008
  83.  Latvia – 7 March 2008
  84.  Estonia – 14 July 2008
  85.  North Macedonia – 15 March 2010
  86.  United Arab Emirates – 17 March 2010
  87.  Azerbaijan – 18 March 2010
  88.  Georgia – 29 March 2010
  89.  Eritrea – 12 April 2010
  90.  Bosnia and Herzegovina – 20 April 2010
  91.  Myanmar – 10 May 2010
  92.  Belarus – 26 May 2010
  93.  Cambodia – 27 May 2010
  94.  Algeria – 2 June 2010
  95.  Afghanistan – 4 June 2010
  96.  Armenia – 7 June 2010
  97.  Morocco – 15 June 2010
  98.  Montenegro – 15 June 2010
  99.  Uzbekistan – 16 June 2010
  100.  Sudan – 19 June 2010
  101.  Albania – 23 June 2010
  102.  Oman – 12 July 2010
  103.  Tajikistan – 20 July 2010
  104.  Laos – 27 August 2010
  105.  Djibouti – 16 September 2010
  106.  Kenya – 21 September 2010
  107.  Bahrain – 25 September 2010
  108.  Qatar – 20 October 2010
  109.  Lebanon – 29 October 2010
  110.  Moldova – 7 December 2010
  111.  Paraguay – 22 December 2010
  112.  Syria – 23 December 2010
  113.  Ethiopia – 6 January 2011
  114.  Guinea – 28 January 2011
  115.  Hungary – 7 March 2011
  116.  Brunei – 25 April 2011
  117.  Republic of the Congo – 11 May 2011
  118.  Angola – 18 May 2011
  119.  Togo – 31 May 2011
  120.  Malawi – 25 June 2011
  121.  Botswana – 28 June 2011
  122.  Benin – 16 September 2011
  123.  Equatorial Guinea – 6 October 2011
  124.  Jordan – 15 November 2011
  125.  Bhutan – 18 November 2011
  126.  Mauritania – 19 November 2011
  127.  Suriname – 21 November 2011
  128.  Cape Verde – 2 April 2012
  129.  Kazakhstan – 6 June 2012
  130.  Iran – 30 August 2012
  131.  Ghana – 12 October 2012
  132.  Haiti – 16 October 2012
  133.  Nicaragua – 21 September 2012
  134.  South Sudan – 25 September 2012
  135.  Panama – 9 November 2012
  136.  Liberia – 15 November 2012
  137.  Mozambique – 6 December 2012
  138.  Central African Republic – 22 January 2013
  139.  Ecuador – 12 February 2013
  140.  Kosovo – 13 February 2013
  141.  Cyprus – 15 March 2013
  142.  San Marino – 15 March 2013
  143.  Saint Vincent and the Grenadines – 15 April 2013
  144.  Costa Rica – 4 August 2013[8]
  145.  Nigeria – Established before 2013, date unknown[9]
  146.  Guatemala – 13 September 2013
  147.  Uganda – 16 September 2013
  148.  Ukraine – 23 September 2013
  149.  Andorra – 27 September 2013
  150.  Serbia – 25 October 2013
  151.  Comoros – 7 November 2013
  152.  Monaco – 13 November 2013
  153.  Burkina Faso – 22 November 2013
  154.  Bolivia – 9 January 2014
  155.  Lithuania – 24 January 2014
  156.  Kyrgyzstan – 14 February 2014
  157.  Dominica – 21 March 2014
  158.  Ivory Coast – 4 April 2014
  159.  Somalia – 10 April 2014
  160.  Turkmenistan – 2 May 2014
  161.  Saint Kitts and Nevis – 16 May 2014
  162.  Yemen – 6 June 2014
  163.  Liechtenstein – 30 June 2014
  164.  Guinea-Bissau – 7 July 2014
  165.  Poland – 11 July 2014
  166.  Iraq – 12 August 2014
  167.  Niger – 9 September 2014
  168.  Gambia – 24 October 2014
  169.  Guyana – 8 December 2014
  170.  Malta – 11 December 2014
  171.  Sierra Leone – 6 February 2015
  172.  Antigua and Barbuda – 20 February 2015
  173.  El Salvador – 30 February 2015
  174.  Burundi – 20 March 2015
  175.  Bulgaria – 24 March 2015
  176.  Palau – 2 April 2015[10]
  177.  Grenada – 23 June 2015
  178.  Chad – 4 August 2015
  179.  Saudi Arabia – 4 August 2015
  180.  Honduras – 26 September 2015
  181.  Saint Lucia – 27 January 2016
  182.  Trinidad and Tobago – 18 March 2016
  183.  Tanzania – 26 May 2016
  184.  Barbados – 19 June 2017[11]

Bilateral relations[edit]

Country Formal Relations Began -
 Australia 10 October 1970 See Australia–Fiji relations

On 13 April 2005, Fiji's prime minister, Laisenia Qarase, rejected criticism from Australia and some other countries over the prosecution and imprisonment of two foreigners charged with committing homosexual acts, which are illegal in Fiji, and said that other countries needed to respect Fiji's independence. Qarase said that as member of the United Nations, Fiji was as entitled as any other country to make its own laws as it saw fit.

The Australian Government took a more measured position than its New Zealand counterpart over the controversial Reconciliation, Tolerance, and Unity Bill being debated in the Fijian Parliament. Susan Boyd, a former Australian High Commissioner to Fiji, strongly criticized the legislation, but Foreign Minister Alexander Downer said that it is an "internal matter" and that Australia does not want to get involved. He did, however, condemn recent threats from the military commander, Commodore Frank Bainimarama, to declare martial law and arrest members of the present government if the bill is passed. The Australian High Commission in Suva told Bainimarama that his threats are not "the proper role for the military in a democracy."

Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer visited Fiji for two days of talks, from 28 to 30 September 2005. Downer met government ministers and officials, Opposition Leader Mahendra Chaudhry, and military commander Commodore Frank Bainimarama. The talks covered the controversial Unity Bill, as well as the future of Fiji's preferential trade access to the Australian market, which the Fijian Government regards as a priority. Downer said that he intended to elaborate further on Australian Prime Minister John Howard's promise of a seven-year extension of the SPARTECA–TCF scheme, which assists Fiji's textile, clothing, and footwear industry.

Foreign Minister Tavola expressed grave concern on 7 February 2006, about a proposed regional trade agreement (RTA) between Australia and China, saying that Fiji's exports to Australia would be unable to compete with Chinese products. For that reason, Fiji was persisting in its efforts to persuade Australia to renew the South Pacific Regional Trade and Economic Cooperation – Textile Clothing Footwear (SPARTECA–TCF) scheme, to improve the competitiveness of Fijian exports, the Fiji Live news service reported.[12]

The Fiji Times reported on 14 September 2006, that Prime Ministers Qarase and Howard had discussed possible Australian assistance for the reform of Fiji's sugar industry, with Howard reported receptive to giving aid. Qarase said that he had asked Australia to provide two or three experts to help with the establishment of the proposed Fiji Research Sugar Institute.[13]

Regarding the coup, Australia's foreign minister at the time, Alexander Downer, said that the military were "slowly trying to take control" and pressured the PM to resign.[14] It was reported that in 2006 Fiji's Prime Minister Qarase asked Australia's Prime Minister John Howard for military assistance should a coup take place, but Howard declined.

2009 events; coup and diplomatic rift[edit]

On 3 November 2009 Fiji ordered the diplomatic envoys of Australia to leave Fiji within 24 hours.[15] The expulsion of the diplomats followed accusations by leader of Fiji, Frank Bainimarama, that Australia and New Zealand were interfering in Fiji's internal affairs and "wage a negative campaign against the government and people of Fiji".[15] In particular Bainimarama says that the two countries were exerting pressure on Sri Lankan judges, brought in by Bainimarama to replace the uncooperative local judiciary, not to travel to the country and refusing to grant them transit visas.[15] The Australian government denied this and stated that it only advised the judges that once they took up office in Fiji they would be subject to an existing travel ban in place against Fijian officials.[15] Australia's senior diplomat in Fiji was also expelled in the 2006 coup.[16] Fiji announced its withdrawal of their high commissioner from Australia.[15]

Australia and New Zealand responded on 4 November 2009, expelling Fiji's diplomats from both those countries.[16] Stephen Smith, Australian Foreign Minister, rejected any accusations of meddling in Fiji's affairs and said that he was "deeply disappointed" by Fiji's actions.[16] The then Prime Minister Kevin Rudd said that he would maintain his tough stance against Fiji in order to prevent a "coup culture" spreading around the Pacific.

  • Australia has a high commission in Suva.
  • Fiji has a high commission in Canberra and a consulate-general in Sydney.
 Brazil 16 February 2006 Fiji Live reported on 23 February 2006 that Fiji's United Nations ambassador Isikia Savua and his Brazilian counterpart Ronaldo Mota Sardenberg had recently signed a communiqué to establish diplomatic relations. Savua expressed the hope that Fiji's bio-fuels industry could benefit from Brazilian technology.
  • Brazil has an embassy in Suva.
  • Fiji has an embassy in Brasilia.
 Chile 10 October 1972
  • Chile is accredited to Fiji from its embassy in Wellington, New Zealand and maintains an honorary consulate in Suva.
  • Fiji is accredited to Chile from its embassy in Brasilia, Brazil.
 China 5 November 1975 See China–Fiji relations

A diplomatic row with China erupted on 5 May 2005, when President Chen Shui-bian of Taiwan arrived for a private visit and was welcomed at a private function at Suva's Sheraton Resort by Vice-President Ratu Joni Madraiwiwi, Ratu Ovini Bokini (Chairman of the Great Council of Chiefs), Senate President Taito Waqavakatoga and several other Senators and MPs, and several judges including Chief Justice Daniel Fatiaki. Foreign Minister Kaliopate Tavola asserted that those who attended the welcoming ceremony did so "of their own accord," not as government representatives, and that Prime Minister Qarase's presence in the same hotel where President Chen was staying was purely "coincidental." Chinese ambassador Cai Jin Biao rejected this explanation, and said that the visit was a violation of the One China Policy, to which Fiji had agreed when diplomatic relations were established in 1975, which would "sabotage relations between China and Fiji." He charged that Prime Minister Qarase and Foreign Minister Tavola had known of the upcoming visit for months. The embassy issued a further statement on 7 May, demanding that Fiji discontinue any effort to establish a dialogue with Taiwan.

The row escalated when, on 16 May, Health Minister Solomone Naivalu voted in support of Taiwan's bid to gain observer status at the World Health Assembly in Geneva. Naivalu had apparently done so on his own initiative, contrary to a government briefing, sparking a major public disagreement between himself and Foreign Minister Tavola. Jia Qinglin, chairman of the People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), was dispatched to Fiji and met Prime Minister Qarase during a brief stopover on 21–22 May, a move that Tavola said was not coincidental. He said that Fiji could not afford to lose China, and that the government would ensure that "careless incidences" like Naivalu's vote in Geneva would not recur. Naivalu responded by saying that his vote was nothing new: "We always support Taiwan to get observer status every year," he said.

On 10 December 2005, The New Zealand Herald quoted Tavola as saying that Fiji would have to find a way to resolve a stand-off between the PRC and Taiwan, over membership of the Suva-based Council of South Pacific Tourism Organisation; China was resisting Taiwanese attempts to join the organization on an equal basis. "If China had its way it would not want Taiwan on that. So we have to resolve the situation amicably and are looking at how both countries can be represented there," Tavola said.

In defence of the earlier incident over the Taiwanese President's visit, Tavola said that it was the Pacific way to welcome people. "Even when considering Taiwan as a province of China, he went on, the President of a province is a man of high profile, so when he comes there is an urge to extend hospitality." It did not signify any modification to Fiji's adherence to the One China policy, he had explained to the Chinese ambassador.

China has invested in a number of major projects in Fiji. These include the Suva sports stadium, built for the South Pacific Games of 2003.

On 14 December 2005, Fiji's military commander, Commodore Frank Bainimarama began an official visit to China, at the invitation of the People's Liberation Army. He reaffirmed Fiji's support for the One China policy.

It was announced on 24 January 2006 that Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao would visit Fiji that April to open the China-Pacific Islands Countries Economic Development & Cooperation Forum Ministerial Conference 2006 at Sofitel Fiji Resort in Nadi, a conference of economic and trade ministers from Pacific Island countries. Six prime ministers from neighbouring countries are expected to participate, according to a Fiji Times report on 23 February. His visit to Fiji will be the first by a senior Chinese Government official.

In an interview with PACNEWS on 1 February 2006, Jeremaia Waqanisau, Fiji's ambassador to Beijing, made a stinging attack on the efficiency of the Fijian civil service, saying that it negatively affected Fiji's ability to present itself to China. Cabinet ministers visited China without the Fijian embassy being informed, he complained. Certain civil servants were extremely passive in their dealings with China, he said. Another factor inhibiting Chinese investment was the instability caused by friction between the government and the military, he surmised, and the Fijian embassy in Beijing was continually engaged in damage control.

 Cuba 1 September 1972

Fiji's ambassador to the United Nations, Berenado Vunibobo, stated in 2008 that his country could seek closer relations with Cuba, and in particular medical assistance, following a decline in Fiji's relations with New Zealand.[17] Fiji's foreign minister Ratu Epeli Nailatikau took part in the first Cuba-Pacific Islands ministerial meeting in Havana in September 2008.[18]

  • Fiji is accredited to Cuba from its High Commission in New Delhi, India.
  • Cuba has an embassy in Suva.
 Cyprus
 Denmark Fiji is represented in Denmark, through its embassy in London, United Kingdom, with a consulate in Copenhagen.[20] Denmark is represented in Fiji, through its embassy in Jakarta, Indonesia.[21] Denmark has one consulate in Suva, Fiji.
 European Union The European Union announced on 3 November 2005 that it would increase its assistance to Fijian schools from 2006 onwards. The assistance would cover infrastructure and building, as well as supplying schools with running water and telephone services.
 France 10 October 1970 See Fiji–France relations

Relations between the France and Fiji are currently strained, due to France's condemnation of the 2006 Fijian coup d'état. Previously, Franco-Fiji bilateral relations had primarily been centred on military cooperation, with France assisting Fiji in surveiling its maritime zone, and on development aid. French military assistance was suspended after the coup.

French aid to Fiji includes the providing of equipment for poor and isolated areas, and assistance in the development of renewable energy. France also provides Fiji with translations into English of French scientific documents pertaining to the Pacific area. France promotes French culture and the French language in Fiji through the presence of the Alliance Française and by encouraging the teaching of French in schools and at the University of the South Pacific.

  • Fiji is accredited to France from its embassy in Brussels, Belgium.
  • France has an embassy in Suva.
 Georgia
  • Both countries established diplomatic relations on 29 March 2010.[22][23]
  • Fiji is represented in Georgia by its embassy in Brussels, Belgium.[24]
  • Georgia is represented in Fiji by its embassy in Canberra, Australia.[23]
 Greece 1978[25]
  • Diplomatic relations were established in 1978.[25]
  • Fiji is represented in Greece through its embassy in Brussels, Belgium.[25]
  • Greece is represented in Fiji through its embassy in Wellington, New Zealand[25] and an honorary consulate in Suva.[26]
 India See Fiji–India relations

Fiji's relationship with India is often seen by observers against the backdrop of the sometimes tense relations between its indigenous people and the 38 percent of the population who are of Indian descent. A major diplomatic event for Fiji in 2005 occurred from 8 to 15 October, when Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase and Foreign Minister Kaliopate Tavola made an official visit to India.

  • India has a High Commission in Suva.[27][28]
  • Fiji maintains a High Commission in New Delhi.[29]
 Israel August 1970 See Fiji–Israel relations

Relations with Israel have generally been cordial, with Fiji usually taking positions sympathetic to Israel in United Nations resolutions. Relations were strained in July 2006, however, when three Israelis, who arrived in Fiji on the 13th, were arrested and deported. Amit Ronen, Eldar Avracohen, and Nimrod Lahav were detained in a jail cell at Nadi Airport for six hours and deported to Australia the next day, for alleged mistreatment of Palestinians by Israel.[30]

 Japan 15 October 1970
  • Fiji has an embassy in Tokyo.
  • Japan has an embassy in Suva.
 Kosovo 13 February 2013

Fiji recognised the Republic of Kosovo on 19 November 2012[31] and established official diplomatic relations on 13 February 2013.[32]

 Malaysia 1977 See Fiji–Malaysia relations

Both countries were part of the British Empire and have a long-standing relationship because many Fijian soldiers served in Peninsular Malaysia during the Malayan Emergency from 1952 to 1956.[33]

 Mexico 31 August 1975 See Fiji–Mexico relations
  • Fiji is accredited to Mexico from its embassy in Washington, D.C., United States.[34]
  • Mexico is accredited to Fiji from its embassy in Canberra, Australia and maintains an honorary consulate in Suva.[35]
 New Zealand 10 October 1970 See Fiji–New Zealand relations

On 10 June 2005, Foreign Minister Tavola signed a "Memorandum of Understanding" with his New Zealand counterpart, Phil Goff, aimed at fostering cooperation in the fight against terrorism. Meanwhile, New Zealand's Prime Minister Helen Clark announced that New Zealand would double its annual aid to Fiji, from NZ$4 million to NZ$8 million. Much of this aid, the Fijian Government revealed, would be used for poverty alleviation and squatter resettlement.

New Zealand's Foreign Minister Winston Peters (who replaced Goff in late 2005) flew into Fiji on 8 February 2006, for three days of talks with Fijian Government officials. He met Prime Minister Qarase, Finance Minister Ratu Jone Kubuabola, and military commander Commodore Frank Bainimarama on the first day of his visit; meetings with Foreign Minister Tavola and House of Representatives Speaker Ratu Epeli Nailatikau were held later. The meeting with Bainimarama attracted some media attention; Bainimarama said that the meeting had been approved by Prime Minister Qarase and that there was nothing underhanded about it.

The talks are to cover such matters as the Pacific Plan and a cost-sharing agreement for a citizen education project, promoted by the United Nations Development Programme.

The New Zealand Minister of Foreign Affairs Winston Peters described the 2006 coup as a "creeping siege on democratic institutions".[36] Helen Clark said that the Fijian constitution only allowed the president to request the dissolving of parliament if the prime minister no longer had the confidence of the parliament and that this was clearly not the case.[37] The New Zealand Government has also stated those taking part in the coup will be banned from entry to New Zealand, and that military ties, aid and sporting contacts will be cut. Helen Clark has said in the NZ Herald that she would consider sanctions against Fiji.[38]

On 3 November 2009, Fiji ordered the diplomatic envoys of New Zealand to leave Fiji within 24 hours.[15] The expulsion of the diplomats followed accusations by leader of Fiji, Frank Bainimarama, that Australia and New Zealand were interfering in Fiji's internal affairs and attempting to "wage a negative campaign against the government and people of Fiji".[15] In particular Bainimarama says that the two countries were exerting pressure on Sri Lankan judges, brought in by Bainimarama to replace the uncooperative local judiciary, not to travel to the country and refusing to grant them transit visas.[15] New Zealand's top diplomat in Fiji at the time was Todd Cleaver.[16]

New Zealand returned the favour on 4 November when it expelled Fiji's acting head of mission, Kuliniasi Seru Savou, from the country.[16] New Zealand's Foreign Minister Murray McCully said that "Diplomatic relations with Fiji are roughly the same they have been for the last couple of years unfortunately" and that "we have had our ups and downs and unfortunately today they are down".[16] The event marked the third time that New Zealand's top diplomat in Fiji has been expelled since the 2006 coup.[16]

  • Fiji has a high commission in Wellington.
  • New Zealand has a high commission in Suva.
 Papua New Guinea 1975

Relations between Fiji and Papua New Guinea became strained in November 2005, in the wake of revelations that a number of Fijian citizens, possibly mercenaries, had entered Papua New Guinea illegally and were involved in arming and training a separatist militia on the island of Bougainville.

On a separate matter, PNG Trade and Industry Minister Paul Tiensten was quoted in Fiji Village on 21 February 2006 as saying that sanctions against Fiji were being considered, following a Fijian refusal of a PNG kava shipment and an earlier rejection of corned beef shipped from PNG.

 Romania 1975
  • Both countries established diplomatic relations on 15 August 1975.[39]
  • Romania is represented in Fiji by its embassy in Canberra, Australia.[40]
 Russia 30 January 1974 See Fiji–Russia relations
  • Fiji is accredited to Russia from its embassy in Tokyo, Japan.
  • Russia is accredited to Fiji from its embassy in Canberra, Australia.
 Samoa 10 November 1974
  • Fiji is accredited to Samoa from its Ministry of Foreign Affairs based in Suva.
  • Samoa is accredited to Fiji from its Ministry of Foreign Affairs based in Apia and has a Student Counselor office in Suva.
 Solomon Islands See Fiji–Solomon Islands relations

Diplomatic relations are currently cordial, although the Solomon Islands government has aligned itself with other countries in the region to urge Fiji interim Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama to restore democracy in Fiji. Fiji and the Solomon Islands are both located in Melanesia, and are both members of the Melanesian Spearhead Group. They also participate in other regional organisations including the Pacific Islands Forum. In August 2008, it was announced that the Solomon Islands intended to open a High Commission in Suva,[41] and in December the government of Fiji announced that it had "formally endorsed the establishment of a Resident Diplomatic Mission in Suva by the Government of the Solomon Islands".[42] Fiji's High Commission to Papua New Guinea is accredited to the Solomon Islands. In July 2014, a row between the two nations erupted over air services which resulted in both nations airlines being prevented to fly over the other. But both nations reached an agreement in early January 2015 to lift the suspension of their Air Services Agreement, allowing Fiji Airways and Solomon Airlines to fly between the two countries. Fiji's Civil Aviation Minister Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum said both airlines are entitled to operate three flights per week. Fiji Airways Chief executive Stefan Pichler has indicated they will begin the flights in March however Solomon Airlines has yet to confirm when they will begin their flights.[43]

 South Africa 2006 Foreign Minister Kaliopate Tavola announced on 15 February 2006 that South Africa would be the first African country to establish a diplomatic mission in Fiji. Diplomatic relations would open up new opportunities for trade and investment, Tavola said. On 27 February, it was announced that South Africa would be opening a High Commission in Fiji. In 2016, Fiji closed its embassy in Pretoria.
 South Korea 1970 See Fiji–South Korea relations

The Republic of the Fiji Islands and the Republic of Korea established official diplomatic relations in 1970, when Fiji became independent.[44] There is a South Korean embassy in Suva[45] and a Fijian embassy in Seoul.[46] Relations between the two countries are currently friendly, and are being strengthened at the initiative of the Fijian authorities.

 Spain 10 December 1976 See Fiji–Spain relations
  • Fiji is accredited to Spain from its embassy in Brussels, Belgium.
  • Spain has an embassy office in Suva.
 Tonga See Fiji–Tonga relations

It was reported on 2 November 2005 that a territorial dispute was looming between Fiji and Tonga over a reef lying to the south of both countries. The people of Ono-i-Lau in the Lau Islands archipelago claim that Minerva Reef is part of their traditional fishing ground. Attorney General Qoriniasi Bale told the Lau Provincial Council that the government had a team of experts preparing a case to be taken to the United Nations International Seabed Authority, which is based in Jamaica. The reef has also been claimed by Tonga since 1972, and Tonga's Surveyor General, Tevita Malolo, told Radio New Zealand that Fiji had never contested Tonga's claim until now.

 Tuvalu See Fiji–Tuvalu relations
  • Fiji has non-resident ambassador resident in Suva accredited to Tuvalu.
  • Tuvalu has a high commission in Suva.
 United Kingdom 10 October 1970 Foreign Minister Tavola expressed concern on 11 July about moves by the British government to reduce its presence in the Pacific region. "We were not happy with that and on occasions, informed them of the folly of their decision to downsize their presence in the Pacific," Tavola said. Britain has already closed its consulate in Kiribati and subsequently closed its missions in Tonga 2005 and Vanuatu in 2006. Britain has also withdrawn from the Secretariat of the Pacific Community, a regional organization of which it was a founding member and a major donor.

Tavola said the British withdrawal could create a power vacuum which others could exploit. A new Cold War era could come to the Pacific region, he said, with rivalries between China and Taiwan, as well as between China and Japan.

  • Fiji has a high commission in London.
  • United Kingdom has a high commission Suva.
 United States 22 July 1971 See Fiji–United States relations

Before the 2006 coup, the US government was highly critical of Fiji, causing tensions between the two countries.

Relations are currently poor, due to the United States' opposition to Fiji's unelected government which took power after the coup d'état in December 2006 and did not allow elections until September 2014.

 Vanuatu

On 11 March 2005, Vanuatu imposed a ban in biscuit imports, ostensibly to protect its own biscuit manufacturing industry, giving a monopoly on the business to the Espiritu Santo-based Wong Sze Sing store. The ban was the second in a year. Bread and breakfast cereals produced by Flour Mills of Fiji (FMF) were the worst-hit; the company claimed to be losing F$2 million annually.

Fiji retaliated on 13 June with a threat to impose a total commercial embargo on Vanuatu. Major income-earners for Vanuatu targeted by the Fijian government include Vanuatu kava, valued at almost US$3.2 million, and Air Vanuatu flights (US$8 million).

On 29 June, Foreign Minister Tavola said that Fiji was "running out of patience" and that he was writing to the government of Vanuatu in what he called a "final gesture of friendship."

On 27 July, Vanuatu's Trade Minister James Bule signed an order lifting the ban, effective from 22 July. No reason was given for the change of policy, but the Fiji Live news service reported that the decision averted a lawsuit from FMF and the threatened kava ban.

Fiji's Foreign Affairs chief executive officer, Isikeli Mataitoga, said that Fiji's policy of pursuing diplomatic channels in dealing with such disputes had been vindicated. "Whilst I agree that it can take a bit of time to see it through carefully, it nevertheless, demonstrates to our regional friends that we are principled in our approach to international relations and diplomacy," Mataitoga said.

There was another twist on 28 July, however, when FMF chairman Hari Punja called the lifting of the ban a fabrication. He said that in place of the ban, the Vanuatu government had introduced a restrictive new quota system for imports which would make it "impossible" to export to Vanuatu. He called on the Fijian government to continue to pressure its Vanuatu counterparts.

Foreign Minister Tavola denounced the latest move of the Vanuatu government on 3 August, saying that it breached an agreement. On 9 August, he announced that the government had decided to go ahead with its threatened embargo against the importing of Vanuatu kava. On 16 August the Cabinet finalized the decision, banning all imports of Vanuatu kava for six months, after which the ban would be reviewed. On 18 August, Fiji Islands Revenue and Customs Authority chief executive Tevita Banuve said that importers would be given two weeks to clear their kava stock from the wharf. A special license would be granted only to clear the stock, he said. It would not be usable for importing more kava.

On 27 August, Tavola announced that following negotiations at the Melanesian Spearhead Group meeting in Papua New Guinea, he expected the Vanuatu government to lift the biscuit ban soon. If they did so, he said he would ask the Cabinet to lift the embargo against Vanuatu kava.

The Fiji Village news service reported on 11 October that Vanuatu's Trade Minister, James Bule, would visit Fiji on 25 October. The purpose of the visit would be to deliver his government's decision to lift the ban on Fijian biscuits, in return for Fiji lifting its ban on Vanuatu kava.

In return for Vanuatu's lifting of the biscuit ban on 25 October, the Fijian government announced on 7 December that it was lifting its kava ban for the sake of freer trade among the members of the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG).

On 22 December 2005, Vanuatu's Finance Minister Willie Rarua formally apologized to Fiji's Acting Foreign Minister Pita Nacuva, for having imposed the ban.

Fijian missions abroad[edit]

Fiji maintains direct diplomatic or consular relations with countries with historical, cultural, or trading ties to Fiji; Ambassadors stationed in such countries are often accredited to neighbouring countries. Fiji maintains embassies in Belgium (taking care of Fiji's relations with the entire European Union), China, Japan, South Korea, and the United States; and High Commissions in Australia, India, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, the United Kingdom and New Zealand (in keeping with the Commonwealth practice of calling missions in fellow-commonwealth countries High Commissions rather than Embassies). Fiji also has a Permanent Mission to the United Nations.

Foreign reaction to Fijian legislation[edit]

Australia and New Zealand have both expressed concern over legislation currently before the Fijian Parliament (as of June 2005), which proposes to establish a Reconciliation and Unity Commission, with the power (subject to presidential approval) to compensate victims and pardon persons convicted of crimes related to the coup d'état which deposed the elected government in 2000.

On 30 August 2005, the then Commonwealth Secretary-General Don McKinnon called on the Fijian government to ensure that the legislation reflected the views of its citizens. He emphasized, however, that the Commonwealth did not have a position on the bill.

Fiji and international organizations[edit]

Fiji plays an active role in numerous international bodies. The South Pacific Forum was largely the brainchild of Ratu Sir Kamisese Mara, Fiji's first Prime Minister. The country has been an outspoken participant many international forums.

Commonwealth of Nations[edit]

Fiji has been a member of the Commonwealth of Nations since it gained its independence in 1970. It was not a member of the Commonwealth between 1987 and 1997 as a result of a republican coup d'état, and was suspended just three years after rejoining between 2000 and 2001 after a military coup, and was suspended after the 2006 coup.

Fiji regained its full status as a Commonwealth republic after the Fijian general election in 2014.

Oceania Customs Organisation[edit]

On 1 September 2005, it was announced that the Oceania Customs Organization would relocate to Fiji in 2006. Though located in Fiji, it would be totally independent of the Fijian government and of the Fiji Islands Revenue and Customs Authority (FIRCA), Finance Minister Ratu Jone Kubuabola said, and for the first three years of its presence in Fiji, its secretariat would be financed by the New Zealand government.

World Trade Organization[edit]

Speaking at the 18th Fiji-Australia Business Forum in Sydney on 17 October 2005, Prime Minister Qarase strongly criticized the World Trade Organization, saying that its policies were unfair to small countries like Fiji. "WTO is trying to impose equality of trade in an unequal world," he said, "but for developing countries like Fiji there is no level playing field, just a slippery slope." It would be a long time before Fiji's economy could compete on equal terms with that of more developed nations, he considered.

International Labour Organization[edit]

On 10 January 2006, the Fijian government criticized the International Labour Organization for what it said was the organization's unfair treatment of the Fiji Islands Congress of Trade Unions (FICTU). Labour Minister Kenneth Zinck said the government had received a complaint from FICTU about the ILO's discrimination against it in favour of the rival Fiji Trades Union Congress.

Diplomatic initiatives[edit]

Speaking at the 6th Session of the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues in New York City on 23 May 2005, Isikia Savua, Fiji's Permanent Representative (Ambassador) to the United Nations, called for equal recognition of individual and collective rights in national and international policies. He said that Fiji had embodied both concepts in its Constitution, through such provisions as communal voting (giving each elector to vote for two members of the House of Representatives, one from his or her own ethnic group, and the other from any ethnic group).

On 1 September 2005, Prime Minister Qarase announced his intention to ask his Australian counterpart, John Howard, for more favourable market access for Pacific Island products. He called on Australia and New Zealand to revise the rules of origin under the SPARTECA trade agreement, and reduce the figure from 50 percent to 35 percent, thereby allowing Fiji to export a higher percentage of garments made elsewhere to Australian and New Zealand markets.

On 28 October 2005, Prime Minister Qarase criticized Australia and New Zealand for refusing to grant temporary work permits to Pacific Islanders. He said the two countries were acting unfairly in assuming that such permits would encourage illegal immigration. The Prime Minister claimed that in the absence of such work permits, Pacific Islanders visiting Australia and New Zealand often undertook illegal employment anyway.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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