20 Jun 2008

Fiji interim regime doubts merit of Forum group to restore democracy

1:40 pm on 20 June 2008

Fiji's interim prime minister Commodore Frank Bainimarama has cast doubt on the merit of the Fiji/Forum Joint Working Group set up to help oversee a return to democracy.

It has met 30 times so far to chart a path to elections in March but Commodore Bainimarama now says the Group should reconsider its position, should it wish to have any meaningful engagement.

A spokesperson for the regime, Major Neumi Leweni, says the position of the group and in particular that of Australia and New Zealand, was insincere, hypocritical, unconstructive and obstructionist in moving Fiji forward.

Commodore Bainimarama says the treatment of Fiji and the disparaging remarks of the Australian and New Zealand governments show that these two governments are condescending, hold neo-colonialist views and fail to recognise that Fiji is a sovereign state which needs to be treated with dignity and respect.

He accuses the two countries of failing to recognise that the interim regime is making efforts to put in place long-term solutions to a number of fundamental structural and institutional problems.