Carr in Fiji
CANBERRA (AAP) - The Australian federal opposition is urging Foreign Minister Bob Carr to use a trip to Fiji to re-establish relations with Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama.
Senator Carr is in Fiji to discuss the country's planned return to democracy with the Pacific Islands Forum Ministerial Contact Group.
The contact group meeting comes as the country carries out consultations on a new constitution ahead of promised 2014 elections.
Coalition foreign affairs spokeswoman Julie Bishop says Senator Carr should use the visit to change the course of Australian policy towards Commodore Bainimarama's regime.
"I have urged the government for some time to end the approach taken by former Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd of not making contact with the Fijian government," she said in a statement.
GENEVA ( UN NEWS CENTRE) - A top UN official voiced concern about recent steps taken by the Papua New Guinea. "Papua New Guinea is on a slippery path to upending the constitutional order and undermining the rule of law," the High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, warned.
"All national actors and their international partners must work together to prevent the country from sliding into serious instability by ensuring that the rule of law, the Constitution and international human rights standards are upheld in resolving the issues facing the country," she added.
Since the August 2011 change of Government in Papua New Guinea, and the subsequent dispute over who is the legitimate Prime Minister, the Executive and Parliament have taken steps which seriously affect the ability of the judiciary to operate independently, according to a news release issued by the High Commissioner's office (OHCHR).
HONIARA (NZ HERALD) - Discussions on the withdrawal of Australian and New Zealand troops from Solomon Islands will begin next month, almost a decade after the crisis that thrust the tiny nation toward violent disintegration.
Australian Defence Minister Stephen Smith has already discussed a withdrawal with Solomons Prime Minister Gordon Darcy Lilo, and New Zealand Foreign and Defence Ministers Murray McCully and Jonathan Coleman.
Papua New Guinea Prime Minister Peter O'Neill was also briefed this week. Troops from Australia, New Zealand, PNG and Tonga have been in the Solomons since 2003, when the islands' Parliament confirmed a request for urgent assistance following the collapse of law and order.
PORT MORESBY (RADIO AUSTRALIA) - Papua New Guinea's parliament has raised concerns yet again over Australia's strict visa conditions set on its citizens wanting to visit Australia.
PNG's Deputy Prime Minister Belden Namah accused Australia of setting strict visa conditions on its citizens, while PNG allows Australians to get a visa on arrival.
He said it's unfair for Australia to treat its neighbour like that when both countries enjoy a long standing historical relationship. "I want to appeal to the Australian government, if we are giving you easy access to Papua New Guinea, why not lift some of those cumbersome processes," he said.
"It is unfair." Some MPs also called on the PNG government to reconsider its visa policy with Australia, while others said Papua New Guineans should visit other countries like China or Malaysia instead of Australia.