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White Press Office Feed

Wednesday, October 10, 2012


Fiji Location.  Credit:  CIA World Factbook

Republic of Fiji's Independence Day
Press Statement

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State

Washington, DC
October 9, 2012

On behalf of President Obama and the people of the United States, I am delighted to send best wishes to the people of Fiji as you celebrate the 42nd anniversary of your nation’s independence this October 10.

Fiji Map.  Credit:  CIA World Factbook.
The United States values its relationship with Fiji. Our citizens share a mutual commitment to democracy, freedom, and rule of law. We will continue to build our partnership as we work together to strengthen democratic institutions, promote peace and security through democratic governance, and enhance economic development in the Pacific.

As you celebrate this special day, know that you have the support of the American people. We will continue to stand by you as you continue to build a freer and more democratic society. Best wishes for a prosperous year filled with peace, progress and prosperity.



Fiji became independent in 1970 after nearly a century as a British colony. Democratic rule was interrupted by two military coups in 1987 caused by concern over a government perceived as dominated by the Indian community (descendants of contract laborers brought to the islands by the British in the 19th century). The coups and a 1990 constitution that cemented native Melanesian control of Fiji led to heavy Indian emigration; the population loss resulted in economic difficulties, but ensured that Melanesians became the majority. A new constitution enacted in 1997 was more equitable. Free and peaceful elections in 1999 resulted in a government led by an Indo-Fijian, but a civilian-led coup in May 2000 ushered in a prolonged period of political turmoil. Parliamentary elections held in August 2001 provided Fiji with a democratically elected government led by Prime Minister Laisenia QARASE. Re-elected in May 2006, QARASE was ousted in a December 2006 military coup led by Commodore Voreqe BAINIMARAMA, who initially appointed himself acting president but in January 2007 became interim prime minister. Since taking power BAINIMARAMA has neutralized his opponents, crippled Fiji's democratic institutions, and refused to hold elections.