31 May 2010

Fiji Forum group to meet in New Zealand

7:14 am on 31 May 2010

The Pacific Island Forum's special group on Fiji is due to meet in Auckland today.

It will be its first gathering since last year's decision by the interim regime in Suva not to relinquish power to an elected government before 2014.

The Forum suspended Fiji's membership last May for failing to commit to a return to democracy.

The Forum's Ministerial Contact Group met twice in 2008 amid unsuccessful attempts to seek Suva's co-operation to restore democracy by 2009.

The Group includes the Prime Ministers of Samoa, Tonga and Tuvalu as well as the Foreign Ministers of Australia, New Zealand and Papua New Guinea.

Fiji has been invited to send a ministerial representative to Auckland to provide perspectives on Fiji's situation and the path back to democratic governance.

The Group will meet Fiji interim Foreign Minister Ratu Inoke Kubuabola.

While in Auckland, the Australian Foreign Minister, Stephen Smith, will also conduct bilateral meetings with Tongan Prime Minister and Feleti Sevele and the New Zealand Foreign Minister Murray McCully.