26 Jun 2008

Chair of Pacific Forum says Fiji must be encouraged to return to dialogue

7:38 pm on 26 June 2008

The chair of the Pacific Islands Forum, Tonga's Prime Minister, Dr. Feleti Sevele, says the Joint Working Group on Fiji must focus on bringing Fiji back into the fold.

His comments follow a meeting of the group which went ahead despite no members of Fiji's interim administration being present.

Last weekend, Commodore Frank Bainimarama pulled Fiji out of the talks, citing Australia and New Zealand's travel bans on Fiji nationals as examples of how they are hampering progress in Fiji.

The group has met 30 times since last year to discuss ways to restore democracy to Fiji after the 2006 military coup.

Dr. Feleti Sevele says the group will be defunct unless Commodore Frank Bainimarama changes his mind.

"Without Fiji I don't think there's much point in continuing now that Fiji has taken that decision. OK, we can only ask Fiji to come back and if they do come back I'm sure that they will have conditions for coming back."