26 Jun 2008

Tongan call for continued Forum/ Fiji dialogue after Fiji walk-out

3:18 pm on 26 June 2008

The chair of the Pacific Islands Forum, Tonga's Prime Minister, Dr. Feleti Sevele, says it is vital that dialogue is restored with Fiji's interim Government.

This follows Commodore Frank Bainimarama's decision last week to pull Fiji out of the Joint Working Group which had been trying to assist the country back to democracy.

Don Wiseman has more.

"Dr Sevele says it is not an option for the Forum that there are no talks. The Forum Chair says he has received a letter from the interim Fiji Prime Minister who, he says, seems frustrated by several issues. He lists these as: Australia and New Zealand's refusal to officially recognise the existence of his regime; the continuing travel bans; and the failure of the Joint Working Group to appreciate the genuine efforts his administration is making - such as the National Council for Building a Better Fiji and the People's Charter. Dr. Sevele says it is most important communication channels remain open at all levels. He says it's vital a visit by the Ministerial Contact Group, which was appointed by Pacific Foreign Ministers in Auckland in March, is allowed to go ahead in Fiji next month, as planned. The New Zealand and Australian Foreign Ministers are expected to attend."