More Sanctions Threatened Against Fiji

I don’t get the point of sanctions. The people of Fiji are the ones who will suffer and not the illegal regime of Bainimarama. Sanctions are merely soft-diplomacy hard on the people of a country. The United Nations had sanctions against Iraq for more than a decade while Saddam Hussein grew stronger in power. It finally took military force to overthrow him.

South Pacific leaders may impose further sanctions against Fiji’s military regime next week including suspending it from the regional grouping over its failure to restore democratic rule, New Zealand’s leader said Tuesday.

Regional leaders could consider toughening their stance against Fiji’s military ruler Commodore Frank Bainimarama at a special meeting Tuesday next week to discuss the coup-prone nation, Prime Minister John Key said.

Bainimarama said earlier Tuesday he would not attend the South Pacific Forum meeting seen as an important gathering to pressure Bainimarama to restore democracy because of flooding last week that killed 11 people and displaced thousands.

“The last thing I want to do is move away from here at this time,” Bainimarama said in a statement, asking the meeting be delayed so he could personally attend at a later date.

Key said he was disappointed Bainimarama would not attend the meeting and said it was clear that Bainimarama, who seized power in a 2006 coup, had ruled out calling elections anytime this year.

“Ultimately, Pacific leaders need to consider what sanctions they want to put on Fiji and that will be obviously dominating the discussions” at the leaders’ meeting in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea, Key said.

He did not elaborate, though he said suspending Fiji from the 16-member forum the region’s leading trade and diplomatic bloc was one option. No nation has been suspended in the group’s more than 30-year history.

In December the Commonwealth a grouping of 53 former British colonies also threatened to suspend Fiji, which has suffered four military coups since 1987.

Bainimarama pledged in 2007 to hold elections by April 2009, but has consistently backed away from that commitment. He says Fiji’s electoral system must be changed and corruption rooted out of public life before elections can be called.

Source: Associated Press Worldstream

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