Secretary-General Kofi Annan voiced alarm today at the possibility of a coup d’état against the Fijian Government, warning that the current political crisis could jeopardize the reputation of the Pacific island nation.
In a statement issued by his spokesman, Mr. Annan encouraged the parties “to continue their search for a peaceful reconciliation of their differences within the constitutional framework,” adding that he is ready to support national and regional efforts to overcome the crisis through dialogue.
Mr. Annan emphasized that “Fiji’s international standing, which it has built carefully over the years, as an important contributor to UN peacekeeping operations and more recently as a member of the Peacebuilding Commission,” is at risk if the crisis is prolonged.
Meanwhile, in a message to the Pacific Regional Seminar on Decolonization, held on Yanuca Island in Fiji, Mr. Annan said the fact that 16 non-self-governing territories remain proves that the decolonization process is incomplete.
He called on all administering powers to show good faith and a desire to implement the principles of the UN Charter regarding non-self-governing territories.
“Tokelau’s referendum in February was an important step in its quest for self-determination,” Mr. Annan said. “The path followed by this small Pacific territory, with the assistance of the administering power, New Zealand, is an example of what can be achieved when there is political will and close cooperation between all parties concerned.”
The Secretary-General’s message was delivered by Karina Gerlach, the chief of the Decolonization Unit in the Department of Political Affairs.