10 Dec 2013

Fiji withdraws from ACP meet in Honiara

9:07 pm on 10 December 2013

Fiji's government says it has withdrawn from the trade meeting of the Pacific bloc of the African, Carribean and Pacific group in Solomon Islands "as a matter of principle."

The current meeting, meant to prepare PACP trade ministers for trade deal discussions with the European Union later in the week, was called by the Pacific Forum Secretariat.

Only 6 of 14 PACP trade ministers were able to attend on such short notice.

In a statement to fellow PACP trade ministers present in Honiara, Fiji's Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum said that PACP countries need to meet without the EU's presence or pressure from the Forum Secretariat.

He says that by calling "rushed" trade talks with the EU before the main meeting, the Forum Secretariat has not fulfilled its responsibility to action the wishes of the member states.

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum says Fiji cannot stay at the meeting under the circumtances because issues of sovereign concern are riding on the negotiations towards the Economic Partnership Agreements.