23 Aug 2012

Fiji interim leader says Pacific would benefit if Fiji could fully participate in regional bodies

7:59 pm on 23 August 2012

Fiji's interim Prime Minister Commodore Frank Bainimarama says Pacific countries need to more aggressively use structures such as the Africa Caribbean Pacific group, the Melanesian Spearhead Group and the Asia-Pacific Group to assert their interests.

He has told Fiji's 3rd Annual "Engaging with the Pacific" conference in Nadi that Fiji will dine at the table and is not content to pick at crumbs once decisions are made.

Commodore Bainimarama says the Pacific Islands Forum, from which Fiji is suspended, has used its influence to bar Fiji from full participation in the Pacific branch of the African, Caribbean and Pacific group of nations.

He says there is too much at stake to continue to exclude Fiji and its full participation in such institutions will strengthen the region.

Over the next two days the conference will focus on trade, sustainable development, climate change, economic development and accelerating progress on the United Nations' Millennium Development Goals.