7 Apr 2004

Fiji prime minister opposes civil society at Forum top level

3:38 pm on 7 April 2004

The Fiji prime minister says he is opposed to the idea of giving civil society groups access to the leaders' meeting at the Pacific Islands Forum to prevent them from imposing foreign values.

Laisenia Qarase made the comment in Auckland in response to calls for the Forum to focus on four key areas: security, governance, economic progress and sustainable development.

The new outlook is also aimed at taking into account views of non-government organisations.

Mr Qarase says civil society groups seeking to take up issues with the Forum should use the secretariat and not the leader's meeting.

"My main concern about civil society is that a lot of them are funded by foreign governments and by international organisations. And they are imposing some of the foreign values on Pacific societies."

Laisenia Qarase