27 Aug 2008

Fiji still prepared to talk to NZ

2:01 pm on 27 August 2008

Fiji's interim Attorney-General says his country is prepared to talk with New Zealand, despite tension surrounding this week's Pacific Islands Forum.

The interim Prime Minister, Frank Bainimarama, refused to attend the Pacific Islands Forum in Niue last week, saying New Zealand had blocked Fiji from post-forum talks.

New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark says he did not want to explain why he backed away from a promised deadline for elections next year.

During the summit, Pacific leaders warned Fiji it could face suspension if it does not move towards elections in March.

In response, Commodore Bainimarama said the country may move towards democracy on its own.

But the interim Attorney-General, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, says relations are not beyond repair.

"We have always said that we will enter into dialogue with any country or any person on a constructive basis."

He says the interim Government would not refuse to talk to New Zealand because of anything the Prime Minister Helen Clark had said.

However, Mr Sayed-Khaiyum says New Zealand is not invited to a meeting Fiji will hold to discuss progress towards elections.

He says Fiji has now invited the heads of the United Nations and the Commonwealth to its own forum on elections.