25 Jan 2007

Pacific Forum unveils terms of reference for eminent persons group going to Fiji

7:30 pm on 25 January 2007

The Pacific Islands Forum has released the terms of reference for its Eminent Persons' Group which will start holding consultations in Fiji next week over December's military coup.

The EPG is to meet with President Ratu Josefa Iloilo, representatives of both the military regime and the ousted government, including the military commander Commodore Frank Bainimarama and deposed prime minister Laisenia Qarase.

It will meet with the Great Council of Chiefs, the Fiji Human Rights Commission, representatives from the judiciary, business community, media, and civil society.

The Forum's secretary general Greg Urwin says the Forum remains dedicated to assisting its members to steer towards peace and stability.

The terms of reference for the EPG include assessing the underlying causes of the overthrow the government and the prospects for an appropriate resolution.

As well it will endeavour to identify the steps needed for a return to democratic government.

The Group is to be headed by Vanuatu's deputy prime minister, Sato Kilman, and include Samoa's environment minister Faumuina Luiga, Sir Arnold Amet, a former chief justice of Papua New Guinea and General Peter Cosgrove, a former chief of the Australian Defence Force.