14 Feb 2011

No softening of Pacific Islands Forum stance on Fiji after ministers meet

5:15 pm on 14 February 2011

New Zealand's Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully says a ministerial group monitoring Fiji won't be recommending the Pacific Islands Forum softens its stance on Fiji.

The Pacific Islands Forum Ministerial Contact Group on Fiji has been meeting in Vanuatu today as part of efforts to keep in touch with Fiji and report back to Forum members.

Fiji has been suspended from the Forum since 2009, over its regime's refusal to return the country to democracy.

Mr McCully was one of six representatives from Pacific Island nations who heard from Fiji's interim Foreign Affairs Minister, Ratu Inoke Kubuabola, at the Port Vila meeting.

Mr MCully says the regime's sticking to its 2014 date for the return to democratic elections.

"We're obliged to report to leaders on whether there is progress to elections and while we agree to disagree on when elections should occur, the fact is the Fiji administration's quite open about the fact that elections in their view won't be held anytime soon."

Mr McCully says the group's been invited to visit Fiji for discussions, a move he sees as constructive and positive.