18 Dec 2006

Forum EPG mission to Fiji this year rejected

4:14 pm on 18 December 2006

A proposal to send a Forum eminent persons group to Fiji this week for discussions has been rejected.

A deputy secretary general at the Forum Secretariat, Iosefa Maiava, says they're now proposing that the group would be sent in the new year and have sent a proposal with draft terms of reference to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which is their contact point in the new regime run by the military.

Mr Maiava says the group is expected to comprise members from Australia, Vanuatu, Samoa and Papua New Guinea.

"The main idea is to look at how the Forum could assist Fiji in moving towards the restoration of democratic rule as soon as possible within the constitution and the rule of law."

Mr Maiava also says the Forum is proposing to replace the current chair, Fiji's deposed prime minister, Laisenia Qarase, with the former chair, Papua New Guinea's prime minister, Sir Michael Somare, on an interim basis.