15 Jul 2008

NZ foreign minister says Fiji talks useful

3:52 pm on 15 July 2008

The New Zealand Foreign Minister Winston Peters has described a meeting in Suva this morning with Fiji's interim leader, Frank Bainimarama, as very useful, but is giving few details.

Mr Peters is part of the Ministerial Contact Group, comprising six ministers from the Pacific Islands Forum.

The ministers are in Fiji to discuss its progress towards holding democratic elections by the end of March following the 2006 military coup .

Mr Peters had expressed concern about Fiji's withdrawal from the Joint Fiji/Forum Working Group, saying that was a sign Fiji was moving away from its commitment to the election timetable.

Straight after the meeting, Mr Peters was asked how it went.

"It was as expected a serious business and it was serious concerns that were raised. Other than that was very worthwhile, and I think the other members will think that as well."

Winston Peters says the group now has to assess today's discussions, and will make a formal statement through the chairman.