1 Sep 2009

Fiji government unmoved by suspension deadline

5:55 pm on 1 September 2009

The Commonwealth deadline for Fiji to commit to holding elections in 2010 year expires on Tuesday, paving the way for the country to be fully suspended from the grouping.

The regime's spokesman, Lieutenant Colonel Neumi Leweni says the interim government's 2014 election date will not change.

The suspension will affect international assistance to the country and stop its athletes from competing in the Commonwealth Games.

Fiji academic Vijay Naidu, from the University of the South Pacific, says suspension is unlikely to have much material effect as the island nation isn't heavily dependent on donor countries, but it will affect the country's image.

A Commonwealth team, including former New Zealand Governor-General Sir Paul Reeves, is likely to visit Fiji in the next week.

The Commonwealth secretariat has said the visit will not affect the suspension ultimatum.