US, Australia pressing Fiji to return to democracy: Clinton
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Sunday said that the United States and Asian partners such as Australia are working to press Fiji's military rulers to restore democracy in the country.world Updated: Nov 07, 2010 07:59 IST
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Sunday said that the United States and Asian partners such as Australia are working to press Fiji's military rulers to restore democracy in the country.
"We are going to be working together with Australia to persuade the military government in Suva to meet its commitment to bring democracy back to Fiji," Clinton said.
"In the short term, we would like to see steps that advance political freedom, such as allowing professional civilians to return to key government ministries," Clinton said in a speech at the University of Melbourne.
In her prepared text, which she did not read out, Clinton said the efforts to bring democracy to Fiji involved US partners in the region, including both Australia and New Zealand.
Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama, Fiji's military strongman who seized power in a coup four years ago, defended his rule-by-decree regime and strict censorship rules, saying he does not trust his own people.
He made the remarks in an Australian television interview in August.
In her speech, Clinton recalled that she had previously announced that the US Agency for International Development will open a new office in Fiji to serve as a base for its work throughout the region.
"We will work on health, we will work on women's empowerment, we will work on good governance," she said.
"But we will pay special attention to a new fund we're creating of 21 million dollars for these small island nations to adapt to climate change."