26 Feb 2007

New Zealand foreign minister says no impediments to Fiji holding elections within months

4:44 pm on 26 February 2007

The New Zealand foreign minister, Winston Peters, says Fiji could hope elections within months.

Mr Peter has met with his Australian counterpart, Alexander Downer, in Wellington today and Pacific issues were high on the agenda.

Mr Downer says both countries will take a common position on the Fiji situation when Pacific foreign ministers meet in Port Vila next month to discuss an eminent persons report which says the army should step aside and elections be held with 18 to 24 months at the altest.

Mr Downer says it is vital for the wellbeing of the people of Fiji that the country have democratic elections as soon as possible.

Mr Peters, says logistically there is no impediment to Fiji holding elections within a matter of months.

"Basically the problem is the commander returning to his barracks and realising that the overall authority with respect to the military does not lie with the army but lies with, in fact, the elected government and the president."

However, last week the military regime signalled that it would 2010 before elections could be held.