2 May 2009

Chair of Pacific Islands Forum says Fiji has been suspended

1:12 pm on 2 May 2009

The Chair of the Pacific Islands Forum and Premier of Niue, Toke Talagi, has announced that the military regime of Fiji has been suspended from the Forum.

In a statement, Mr Talagi confirmed the suspension of the current military regime in Fiji, from full participation in the Pacific Islands Forum is effective immediately.

He added that the difficult decision is response to Commodore Bainimarama's failure to address constructively by May the 1st the expectations of Forum Leaders to return Fiji to democratic governance in an acceptable time-frame.

He also said it is also particularly timely given the recent disturbing deterioration of the political, legal and human rights situation in Fiji since 10 April, which saw the abrogation of Fiji's constitution.

The Forum Chair confirmed that the decision does not amount to the expulsion of Fiji, as a nation, from its membership of the Forum as that proposition has not been considered by Leaders in their deliberations.

He said as such, the Pacific Islands Forum remains a 16-member body and Fiji continues to be part of the Forum group of nations, albeit with participation of the current regime suspended until further notice.

He said a regime which displays such a total disregard for basic human rights, democracy and freedom has no place in the Pacific Islands Forum.

Nevertheless, he said, they look forward with great hope to Fiji's earliest possible return to constitutional democracy, through free and fair elections