2 Aug 2013

China, Russia and Cuba observers at Fiji meeting

5:47 pm on 2 August 2013

China, Russia and Cuba are among observers at Fiji's inaugural Pacific Islands Development Forum meeting next week.

The Fiji government says 25 countries are sending observers to the three day gathering of 14 regional leaders, NGOs and business people.

The President of Timor Leste Xanana Gusmao is the chief guest and the leaders of Solomon Islands, Kiribati and Nauru will also be attending.

New Zealand and Australia are sending diplomats from Suva to observe the meeting which focuses on developing green economies.

The gathering is a response to Fiji's suspension from the Pacific Islands Forum whose membership includes New Zealand and Australia.

Fiji's Foreign Minister Ratu Inoke Kubuabola described the regional body as part of a rearrangement of the furniture that more properly reflects the concerns of Pacific Island countries.

China, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates are among those funding the event.