31 Mar 2004

Fiji PM says region not ready for political union

11:17 am on 31 March 2004

Fiji's Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase says the region is not ready to consider closer political union.

Some reports have suggested that next week's mini summit of Pacific leaders to consider revamping the Pacific Islands Forum will look at a Pacific Union similar to the European Union.

Mr Qarase says the emphasis now is on regional co-operation and integration, while closer union is an option for the future.

"But I personally believe that the time to even consider this idea as an option is further down the track because there are so many other things that the island countries an do together without going towards that part."