25 Aug 2008

Solomon's Prime Minister says all Forum members backed suspension threat

6:46 am on 25 August 2008

Despite counterclaims from Fiji, the Prime Minister of Solomon Islands, Dr Derek Sikua, says the threat to suspend Suva from the Pacific Islands Forum is supported by all the island countries, including those from Melanesia.

The Forum sent a blunt signal to the regime in Fiji last week saying it had to re-commit to elections under the current constitution by March next year or they would consider its suspension.

Fiji' Interim Attorney General, Aiyaz Sayed Khaiyum, says the stance is a New Zealand/Australia initiative and is not indicative of the position of all Pacific countries.

But Dr Sikua says that at the Melanesian Spearhead Group summit earlier this year in Vanuatu, the other Melanesian countries strongly urged Fiji's Commodore Frank Bainimarama to hold elections in March as he had promised.

"...and that's been our stand, we have been very consistent in supporting the commitments he has made to the 2007 Forum in Tonga. So this is not Australia and New Zealand this is the Forum's stand that we continue to urge him to meet the commitment that he has pledged."

Dr Derek Sikua