29 Jan 2007

Forum Eminent Persons Group due to begin talks in Fiji today

6:13 am on 29 January 2007

A group of senior Pacific figures is to start meetings in Fiji today to discuss the current political situation on behalf of the Pacific Islands Forum.

The Eminent Persons Group is to be headed by Vanuatu's deputy prime minister, Sato Kilman, and includes Samoa's Environment Minister, a former chief justice of Papua New Guinea and a former chief of the Australian Defence Force.

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 the deposed prime minister, Laisenia Qarase.

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

The group will endeavour to identify why the elected government was ousted and the steps needed for a return to democratic government.