Jun 19, 2014

All aboard the gravy train as SBY visits Fiji

Outgoing Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono moved to shore up relations with Fiji this week amid growing rumblings across the Pacific about atrocities in West Papua, writes Fijian journalist Netani Rika.

Fijians have been described as among the most hospitable people in the world, flinging open the doors to their homes at every opportunity to passing guests. In a similar style Fiji welcomed outgoing Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono this week as chief guest at the Pacific Island Development Forum meeting on the resort island of Denarau.

It was a glamorous event with red carpets, military parades, police-escorted motorcades, gala dinners and traditional ceremonies associated with state visits. But pro-West Papuan activists and journalists were monitored for weeks by Special Branch police, and every attempt was made to keep them away from the event.

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