19 Aug 2008

Fiji pulls out of Forum summit over exclusion from bilateral talks

10:57 am on 19 August 2008

Fiji's interim government says it has pulled out of this year's Pacific Forum leaders summit in Niue because it has been excluded from scheduled post summit talks in Auckland.

Little over a day out from the start of the summit, Fiji's interim Prime Minister Commodore Frank Bainimarama announced the withdrawal in a statement.

He says his delegation will not be attending in protest at being unable to attend the series of bi-lateral talks in Auckland immediately after this week's Niue Summit.

A tight Forum Summit schedule this year meant that the bilateral talks

with post-Forum dialogue partners like Canada, the United Kingdom, the USA, Japan and China have to be hosted in Auckland.

The Fiji government spokesman Neumi Leweni says the New Zealand government decision not to allow their delegation's involvement in what he says are intergal meetings.

"It's a stance that Fiji have taken. They have decided not to include Fiji in some of the talks that are supposed to involve everybody but if they're going to do that we're deciding not to be a part of it."