Will Fiji Become Australia's New Best Friend?

A visit by Foreign Minister Julie Bishop to Fiji has caused much speculation about the future of Australian's relations with that Pacific islands nation. On 15 February 2014, she met with Prime Minister Commodore Frank Bainimarama who has been in charge of the military-backed government since a coup in late 2006.

Many have been left wondering what secrets their pleasant exchange might be hiding:

PM Bainimarama meets Australian Foreign Minister, Julie Bishop

PM Bainimarama meets Australian Foreign Minister, Julie Bishop
Fiji Ministry of Information's Facebook Photos

Her visit received a mixed reception on twitter. Ron Cato seems content with developments:

Martin John Carter definitely favours the change:

But others are antagonistic:

Greg Ross suspects a connection with Australia’s asylum seekers policies:

Keith Jackson who blogs at PNG Attitude has his own ideas about Australia’s motives:

Keith also retweeted this addition to the asylum seeker theorizing:

At Pacific Scoop, Scott MacWilliam wonders about how easily old foes might be reconciled if there are democratic elections in Fiji:

Despite all their previous rhetoric about the need for Fiji to return to democracy, would Australia (and New Zealand) accept an electoral victory by their erstwhile enemy, no matter how this is achieved?

In the event of Commodore Bainimarama making a successful transition to elected prime minister, could he make a trip to Australia, and be photographed alongside Prime Minister Tony Abbott, Bishop and Immigration Minister Scott Morrison? Would the picture be attached to an account of how Fiji has now agreed to establish a detention centre, paid for by Australia with employment for surplus to requirements Fiji military personnel?

The Fiji Labour Party opposition has election concerns as well:

As might be expected from the name, Fijileaks is very unimpressed by the thaw in relations:

At their link, they have some advice based on the foreign minister’s reported remarks:

The Gullible Her Holiness “Bishop”: “At the meeting, Commodore Bainimarama discussed the election process, and indicated he was prepared for whatever role resulted, even if he were to lose the prime ministership”.
Fijileaks Editor to Bishop: “Oh, Yeah, Dream On!”

Fijian lawyer Richard Naidu has a dream of his own:


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