12 Dec 2008

Fiji faces prospect of suspension from Pacific Island Forum

12:11 pm on 12 December 2008

The Pacific Island Forum Ministers Contact Group will report to Forum leaders their disappointment with Fiji not holding elections in March next year opening the prospect for its suspension from the Forum.

The group, comprising Ministers from Australia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Tonga and Tuvalu, made the announcement after holding talks yesterday with members of the interim Government, political party leaders and other key stakeholders.

Australia's foreign minister, Stephen Smith, told FijiLive it acknowledges there won't be elections now until the end of March as Fiji had earlier pledged.

He says it expects the Forum leaders to consider that and consequences may well flow.

He add that the delay in Fiji's return to democratic rule is an impediment to Fiji's economic progress.

The group will table its report to a special Forum leaders meeting in Port Moresby next January.

Meanwhile, the New Zealand-based Coalition for Democracy in Fiji's, Nick Naidu, has called on Australia and New Zealand to get serious in forcing Fiji back to Democracy.

"I think countries have to look at some sort of trade sanctions because obiviously all the political sanctions have not worked."

Nick Naidu.