19 May 2014

Forum says Nauru to settle own affairs

1:36 pm on 19 May 2014

The Pacific Islands Forum says it is monitoring developments in Nauru where three opposition MPs remain suspended from parliament over comments made in the international media.

The regional body's Secretary General, Tuiloma Neroni Slade, says Nauru's parliamentary system and practices and the matters at issue are of national importance for Nauru primarily to settle and resolve.

The Nauru government accused the MPs, Kieren Keke, Roland Kun and Mathew Batsiua, of tarnishing the country's image over their comments including lack of government accountability, censorship of the media, and interference in the judiciary.

Last week, the police moved in to eject Dr Keke from parliament and Mr Batsiua was only allowed a few minutes to speak.

The MPs have questioned the legality of their suspension and say it is part of a pattern of poor government.

On Friday Australia's Foreign Minister Julie Bishop called on Nauru to respect freedom of speech and uphold the fundamental values of a robust democracy.

The Forum secretariat says it is trying to assess the situation as it develops.