12 Sep 2009

Commonwealth envoy says Fiji values relationship with Commonwealth

9:39 am on 12 September 2009

The Commonwealth's special envoy to Fiji says the country's military led government still values its relationship with the Commonwealth despite its refusal to bring forward a date for elections.

Fiji was suspended from the Commonwealth last week for failing to announce it would hold elections next year.

The interim Prime Minister, Commodore Frank Bainimarama says when the Commonwealth's envoy, Sir Paul Reeves visited Fiji this week, he explained to him that electoral reforms must be introduced before elections are held in 2014.

Despite that Sir Paul says he received a friendly welcome from the interim government and the people of Fiji, and the Commonwealth still has a role to play in bringing democracy to the country

"The Commonwealth still has a place in the hopes of Fiji and I think the interim administration itself cherishes, these are the words of the administration, they cherish their association with the Commonwealth, they cherish their association with the Queen. And so there's a lot there to work on, we've just got to be patient."

Sir Paul says while the visit did not change the stance of the interim regime, it was worthwhile because it helped establish relationships which will assist future discussions.