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Lupari criticises Fiji newspaper attack on Taylor appointment

A FIJI newspaper’s attack on PNG about the appointment of Dame Meg Taylor as Secretary-General of the Pacific Islands Forum has been condemned by the National Government.
Chief of Staff in the Prime Minister’s office Isaac Lupari said the opinion piece on the front page of the Fiji SUN newspaper was an attempt to shift focus away from issues which dominated the Palau forum.
He said communique signed by the leaders confirmed that many small islands in the Pacific were faced with a series of challenges, including climate change, rise in sea level, food security, depleting marine stocks and transnational crime.
He said the K500 million announced by Prime Minister Peter O’Neill was an assistance programme by the government in response to the challenges that many of our small islands were simply unable to deal with on their own.
“The assistance programme is based on many concerted discussions with island countries over time and it was not thought out
overnight,” Lupari said. “As the biggest economy in the region, we have to lead from the front and not just wait for Australia, New Zealand, the US or China for assistance.”
“The security and well-being of the nations in the region is in our best interest as well.”
He said the suggestion by the Fiji Sun newspaper that PNG forked out a K500 million inducement to install Dame Meg Taylor to the position was “utter nonsense”
“Dame Meg Taylor did not need any inducement to win the post,” he said.
“She is well credentialed, and is a highly respected citizen of the region.
“Over the years, she has performed exceptionally well at the global stage.”

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