26 Jan 2009

Forum leaders begin to gather in PNG for special meeting on Fiji

5:38 am on 26 January 2009

The New Zealand Prime Minister John Key leaves for Papua New Guinea today, where the future of Fiji within the Pacific Islands Forum will be decided.

The meeting in Port Moresby was nearly derailed by a decision by PNG and Fiji to defer it for a week, without the agreement of the other leaders.

But late on Saturday the meeting was rescheduled for its original date after Niue, the forum's chair, overruled Port Moresby's decision to postpone it.

Pacific leaders will now consider a report, which will express serious concerns about the lack of progress towards holding elections in Fiji.

John Key says leaders will have range of actions to consider, including suspension from the forum.

"But the question is what happens next and if he is not prepared to move to that position then what action is the forum prepared to take because it's really been two years now since that coup took place and we are not seeing any great sings from Mr Bainimarama that he is wanting to move the country back to democracy."

John Key says it's disappointing Fiji's interim Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama won't be in attendance.

One of the two people originally chosen to represent Fiji in the absence of the interim Prime Minister, has been suspended from his position.

Fiji's interim foreign affairs secretary, Ratu Isoa Gavidi was suspended after possibley breaching the civil service code of conduct by commenting on a political matter.

Ratu Isoa told FijiTV: "he wished the Commodore could go to the Pacific Islands Forum Special Meeting, but he has made his decision not to."

Fiji's interim Attorney General, Aiyaz Sayed Khayum, is due to fly to PNG today.