16 Mar 2007

Foreign ministers to consider ways to bring Fiji elections forward

7:37 pm on 16 March 2007

Pacific foreign ministers have been meeting in Vanuatu to discuss an eminent persons group report on how the region can help the restoration of democracy in Fiji following the coup last December.

That coup deposed the government of Laisenia Qarase which had been re-elected just seven months earlier.

The Forum has urged the Fiji military to cede power but it doesn't want a return to democracy before 2010.

The ministers have been in talks with the Fiji interim government's foreign minister and attorney-general.

From Port Vila, Richard Pamatatau reports.

"What has emerged first of all is that the decision of the interim Fiji government of three years or more, is not acceptable to the Pacific Forum. The New Zealand Foreign Minister Winston Peters says that they're now looking at how they can negotiate that time and make elections happen sooner. The Fiji government has said that it needs to put some things in place before those elections can occur. They need to have a census, they need to look at the electoral boundaries. But Mr Peters has said that none of those things are impossible."

Richard Pamatatau reporting from Port Vila.