8 Dec 2006

Sir Michael Somare calls for all parties in Fiji coup to negotiate a resolution

1:19 pm on 8 December 2006

The acting secretary general of the Pacific Islands Forum, Josefa Maiava, says they are considering a number of issues in relation to Fiji following the coup, but he cannot say if this includes expelling the country from the regional body.

Fairfax newspapers, quoting diplomatic sources, are reporting that such an expulsion is likely.

The Forum is based in Suva and the current chair is the deposed prime minister of Fiji, Laisenia Qarase, but if the military government solidifies its position then the interim prime minister, Dr Jona Senilagakali could assume the role.

Mr Maiava says he also cannot say what will happen to the chairmanship but will only say that there are various issues under consideration and decisions will hopefully be made soon.


The Papua New Guinea prime minister Sir Michael Somare, who chaired the Pacific Islands Forum until October when Fiji's Laisenia Qarase took over, has condemned the coup and called on all parties to negotiate a resolution.

He says the army-led removal of the democratically-elected government would seriously hurt Fiji's economy and the welfare of its people and also harm the international reputation of Fiji and the region as a whole.

Sir Michael says the Forum is urging the Fiji military to reconsider its stance and maintain respect for the rule of law, the Constitution of Fiji and the democratic institutions and processes established under it.

He says the differences between the parties must be resolved through negotiation, within the Constitution and with respect for the rule of law.

Sir Michael says the Forum calls on all the community, churches and other leaders in Fiji to encourage a peaceful resolution in support of the democratically-elected government.

He says the Forum is available to help the government and Fiji military find a peaceful resolution.