14 Aug 2007

Forum may set policy over unelected leaders at summit

1:38 pm on 14 August 2007

The chairman of the joint Forum/Fiji Working group says the annual summit may have to consider developing a stance on the participation of unelected leaders.

The issue has arisen because of questions over whether Fiji's interim Prime Minister, Commodore Frank Bainimarama, should attend this year's leaders' meeting in Tonga.

The Chairman of Forum/Fiji working group, the PNG High commissioner to Fiji, Peter Eafeare, says his prime minister has already suggested Fiji send an envoy in case the presence of the Commodore suggests the Forum condones the military overthrow.

Mr Eafeare says a convention in such cases may need to be established:

"It is a moment of truth as to whether we should look at provisions of Biketawa and have it reviewed to the point where if there is another similar occurrence then how would the regional organisation, or regional body respond to that in the future."

Mr Eafeare said the Pacific way is the Pacific way, but there is immense global pressure for greater accountability and respect for the rule of law and human rights.