28 Jul 2014

Fiji Forum suspension 'traumatic'

12:57 pm on 28 July 2014

The Secretary General of the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat, Tuiloma Neroni Slade, says the suspension of Fiji from the 16-strong group has been a traumatic experience for member countries.

Mr Slade, whose term is nearing its end, says suspending a member had never happened before and he hopes it will never happen again.

Rear-Admiral Frank Bainimarama.

Rear-Admiral Frank Bainimarama. Photo: AFP

Fiji was suspended after the regime leader, Rear Admiral Frank Bainimarama, reneged on a 2007 promise to Forum leaders to cede power to an elected government by 2009.

Mr Slade says the final determining factor of Fiji's return will be free and fair elections in September.

Fiji last year set up a rival group, the Pacific Islands Development Forum, and says it will only consider a return to the Forum if Australia and New Zealand quit the organisation.