Fiji PM says no intention to undermine Pacific Islands Forum

15:03, July 31, 2010      

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Fiji has no intention of undermining the Pacific Islands Forum, said Fiji Prime Minister Voreqe Commodore Bainimarama.

Bainimarama said accusations by Australia and New Zealand that Fiji was undermining the Forum with the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) Plus and then the Engaging Pacific Leaders meeting, was wrong.

He said Fiji was more concerned about discussing its future and path back to democracy with regional leaders.

The Pacific leaders will meet in Vanuatu next week for the 41st annual meeting of the Pacific Islands Forum -- a regional organization which Fiji was suspended from last year for delaying a return to democracy.

The 15-member group is expected to discuss Fiji's progress toward democracy when they meet in Port Vila next Tuesday.

"There was no intention to undermine the Forum. If that is the way Australia saw it, then they are wrong, like they've been wrong from the start about what we doing in Fiji. What we are trying to do is get a Forum together so that we can tell Pacific island leaders what's happening in Fiji and how we intend to deal with it, leading up to elections in 2014," the Fiji Broadcasting Corporation quoted him as saying on Friday.

Bainimarama said Australia and New Zealand feel threatened by his moves to engage Pacific leaders only because they want to be the dominant force in the Pacific.

Meanwhile, Fiji's Citizens' Constitutional Forum said the Fiji government's resumption of inclusive political dialogue on electoral reform will be a sign of its commitment to elections.

The Fijian administration has recently said the Pacific countries support its roadmap toward elections, following last week's meeting of leaders in Nadi.

In a related development, Bainimarama said Fiji will not rush to get back into the Pacific Islands Forum.

The comment came as New Zealand Prime Minister John Key said he does not believe Forum countries will change their position on Fiji's suspension from the Forum.

Bainimarama said Fiji's participation at the Forum can only be decided by the Forum leaders themselves but Fiji is better off without it.

Source: Xinhua


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