The Abbott Government will move to restore relations with Fiji - using Eagles star Nic Naitanui as an "unofficial ambassador".
_The West Australian _can reveal Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop will meet Fijian Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama in Fiji today to begin the process of normalising relations after almost eight years of tensions.
Australia, together with most other Pacific countries, imposed sanctions on Fiji after Commodore Bainimarama toppled the elected government in a military coup in 2006.
The country retaliated by expelling Australia's ambassador, claiming Canberra was plotting armed intervention in the country.
Ms Bishop said she was scheduled to meet the Fijian leader today.
"I am aiming to build a new and constructive phase in the bilateral relationship with Fiji, including a political level," she said.
Ms Bishop said she met Naitanui in Canberra on Wednesday night and he agreed to sign a West Coast jumper to present to Commodore Bainimarama. She said Naitanui, who has Fijian heritage, had agreed to act as a "goodwill ambassador" to Suva.
Ms Bishop said she hoped sporting ties between Australia and Fiji would help negotiations.