3 Nov 2014

Forum deals shows extent of Fiji leverage - academic

4:20 pm on 3 November 2014

An Auckland University academic says Fiji still holds significant leverage over Australia and this is what has prompted the call for a meeting of Pacific leaders to discuss the region's organisations.

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Photo: PIF

Fiji was suspended from the Pacific Islands Forum in 2009 for reneging on a promise to hold elections that year.

While the suspension was lifted last month, Fiji is refusing to re-join as long as New Zealand and Australia stay as members.

Dr Steven Ratuva says this lack of unity is the biggest hindrance for Australia in the Pacific and would have prompted Foreign Minister Julie Bishop's call for a regional agency review.

"From Australia's point of view I think its biggest hindrance to its regional interests really is Fiji's demand in relation to membership of the Forum. So in a way the normalisation of Fiji's relationship will have a lot of implications region-wide."