30 Apr 2012

Forum Ministers in Fiji for one day of talks with government

7:05 pm on 30 April 2012

The New Zealand foreign minister Murray McCully says it is a cause for optimism that he and other members of the Pacific Islands Forum's Ministerial Contact Group are in Fiji for talks with the interim regime.

The Ministerial Contact Group, set up by Forum leaders to monitor developments in Fiji, is in the country for one day of talks on Tuesday.

Fiji has been suspended from the Forum since reneging on a decision to hold elections in 2009.

It is the first time the group, which also includes cabinet ministers from Australia, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Tuvalu and Vanuatu has been to Fiji in four years.

Two years ago, a Contact Group visit was cancelled by the Fiji regime after it accused Forum leaders of not being serious about a dialogue with Fiji.

Now Fiji's acting prime minister, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, has called on the Contact Group to support its efforts to hold elections in 2014.

Fiji Live reports Mr Sayed-Khaiyum saying Fiji has always welcomed friendly and open relationships with its neighbours and all nations on the basis that political and territorial sovereignty be maintained and respected.

Mr McCully says he hopes the talks can be constructive.