29 Nov 2006

New Zealand foreign minister says Fiji talks constructive

5:09 pm on 29 November 2006

New Zealand's foreign minister, Winston Peters, says today's meeting between the Fiji prime minister, Laisenia Qarase, and the Fiji military commander, Commodore Frank Bainimarama, has been constructive.

Mr Peters says the discussions extended over two hours and were lengthy, serious and meaningful.

He says New Zealand hosted the meeting in Wellington because it recognises that resolving the current situation in Fiji is fundamentally important to its future, and to the future of the wider Pacific.

"The meeting covered a number of subjects, they were very. very serious. There was a very good discussion because, as I said, some of these things are easier to fix up than others. Some can be facilitated by New Zealand and we made that offer but at the end of the discussion as you'd expect we have things to work on and we will."

Winston Peters.

Mr Qarase says it was a worthwhile meeting and there is a need to progress what they discussed.

But he says there are no concrete plans for him and the military commander to meet again soon.

The talks in Wellington were arranged on short notice after Australia warned last week that the Fiji military was set to stage a coup within two weeks.

The Commodore had threatened to remove the government if his demands for legislative changes were not met.

The meeting ended shortly after midday when it was announced that Commodore Bainimarama was to catch his scheduled flight back to Fiji.

He had delayed his departure by a day as Mr Qarase flew to Wellington last night.

The foreign ministers of the Pacific Islands Forum countries are due to meet in Sydney on Friday to discuss the situation in Fiji.