20 Dec 2006

Forum rejects Fiji EPG story, seeks better reporting

5:49 pm on 20 December 2006

The Pacific Islands Forum secretariat has taken issue with a report that Fiji has rejected an Eminent Persons' Group from the Forum to discuss the Fiji crisis.

A deputy secretary, Iosefa Maiava, has issued a statement to clarify the Forum stance, saying this was to ensure accurate and responsible reporting.

It also says the Forum wants to help Fiji restore democracy within the boundaries of the law.

This comes two weeks after the Forum chair, Fiji's prime minister Laisenia Qarase, was toppled by the military which also broke into a police armoury to seize all weapons in Suva.

Mr Maiava now says in Monday's interview with Radio New Zealand International, he neither said nor implied that the proposed EPG visit this year had been rejected.

However, he had told our reporter that an EPG mission this week was impossible.

"Initially, the proposal was to have an EPG this side of Christmas, meaning this week, but we got the response back from the ministry of foreign affairs that it was impossible to organise one, and obviously they wanted to consider a number of issues before they could give the go-ahead."

Iosefa Maiava