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Departure statement: high-level Commonwealth delegation in Fiji

9 March 2012
“The visit has enabled me to gain a direct and up-to-date understanding of developments in Fiji. I have heard differing perspectives on some issues, but a welcome willingness among all to find ways to move Fiji forward” - Commonwealth Deputy Secretary-General

Departure statement by Commonwealth Deputy Secretary-General Mmasekgoa Masire-Mwamba, Suva, Fiji, 9 March 2012

Commonwealth Deputy Secretary-General Mmasekgoa Masire-Mwamba concluded her three-day visit to Fiji on 9 March.

“My visit has been short but busy and very constructive”, said Mrs Masire-Mwamba.

“My team and I have been able to meet with senior representatives of the Government of Fiji, including the Minister for Foreign Affairs and the Attorney-General. I have also met with other political stakeholders, and representatives of civil society and the international community.

“I have very much appreciated the spirit of my talks with all. Everyone I met was welcoming and open in their discussions with me.

“The visit has enabled me to gain a direct and up-to-date understanding of developments in Fiji. I have heard differing perspectives on some issues, but a welcome willingness among all to find ways to move Fiji forward.”

The Deputy Secretary-General noted that the Prime Minister’s announcement regarding the launch of a constitutional consultation process was a timely occurrence during her visit.

“The Commonwealth has not yet had the opportunity to consider the statement in detail, or to hear the views of the range of stakeholders in Fiji about it. Nevertheless, at this early stage, I can say that we are encouraged by the launch of a constitutional process, which is an important step forward on Fiji’s path towards the restoration of democracy and the rule of law,” she said.

“We have also noted the promises made by the Prime Minister today that the consultations will be inclusive, transparent, and conducted with integrity and honesty.”

On her return to London next week, Mrs Masire-Mwamba will report to Commonwealth Secretary-General Kamalesh Sharma on her discussions in Fiji. The Secretary-General in turn will brief the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group (CMAG) on the outcomes of this engagement, when the Group next considers the Fiji situation.

The discussions held during the visit will also help the Commonwealth to consider how it can best continue to encourage and support Fiji on its path towards the restoration of democracy, including areas in which the Commonwealth might provide technical assistance.

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