4 Jan 2007

New Zealand officials uncertain over meeting to discuss Fiji's place in Forum

4:28 pm on 4 January 2007

Officials have been unable to confirm reports that the Pacific Island Forum's Foreign Ministers will decide the fate of Fiji as a founding member at a meeting in New Zealand later this month.

The Solomon Star newspaper reports the meeting will be held in Auckland or Wellington as part of regional efforts to deal with the military takeover in Fiji.

Fiji has been suspended from the Commonwealth, and removed from the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands since the pre-Christmas coup led by Commodore Frank Bainimarama.

The paper says several meetings are planned this month, including a planned visit by an Eminent Persons Group to Suva.

The outcome of this meeting according to the newspaper report will be discussed in New Zealand by the Foreign Ministers of the Pacific Island's Forum.

The meeting is also expected to endorse the Melanesian Spearhead Group Foreign Ministers in leading talks to broker an agreement between the Fiji military and the ousted Prime Minister, Laisenia Qarase's government.