The Citizens’ Constitutional Forum calls on the Pacific Islands Forum Foreign Ministers to consider seeking a peaceful resolution in the current diplomatic Fiji-Tonga crisis by initiating the process under the Biketawa Declaration. This is to stop what could be a likely deterioration in the historical relationship between two border island countries.
It was a similar crisis that the Biketawa Declaration was used to provide the key framework for the crisis in the Solomon Islands under the Regional Assistance Mission in the Solomon Islands (RAMSI) and in Fiji by former PM Qarase.
Reverend Yabaki said that “Under the Biketawa Declaration, Forum Leaders have committed themselves to recognizing the importance of resolving conflicts by peaceful means with several options for action available to them”.
“The Pacific Islands Forum leaders must now come together under the Declaration in order to resolve the current diplomatic tension between the two sovereign nations if it is indeed committed to averting causes of conflict and of reducing, containing and resolving all conflicts by peaceful means,” Reverend Yabaki said.
He also added that “there must be a sufficient degree of consensus between the two States on any resolution if it is implemented”.
While Fiji’s membership is currently under suspension from the Pacific Forum Island of States, the Biketawa declaration, drawing from the Forum Economic Action Plan Eight Principles of Good Governance and the 1997 Aitutaki Declaration obliges Forum Leaders, including Tonga, to respect the principle of non-interference in the domestic affairs of another member state.