Former High Commissioner to Australia, Milner Tozaka is calling on the Caretaker Government to apologize to Fiji as a way forward towards mending strained relations between the airlines of Solomon Islands and Fiji.
The strained relations between the aviation authorities of the two Melanesian neighbors started in July causing difficulties to travelers between their countries and Vanuatu.
Mr Tozaka who until recently was the Member of Parliament for North Vella Lavella, and Chairman of the Parliamentary Foreign Relations Committee, says the Caretaker Government of Prime Minister Gordon Darcy Lilo must take the initiative by apologizing to Fiji.
He said an apology will resolve the dispute.
Mr Tozaka said the apology is a better option to take because Fiji’s action to stop Solomon Airlines from landing in Fiji airports is a pay-back because it has been upset with Solomon Islands for not supporting its candidate for the post of Secretary General of the regional organization, Pacific Islands Forum.
The Lilo Government instead nominated its own candidate, Dr Jimmy Rogers to contest the post at the recent PIF leaders’ summit in Palau challenging those of Papua New Guinea and Fiji.
He said MrLilo was ill advised then. PNG’s candidate won the election.
Mr Tozaka said the apology should re-affirm to Suva that Solomon Islands values its ties with Fiji because many of its citizens are there, either studying or working.
– By George Atkin