27 Jun 2008

New Zealand Foreign Minister hoping for re-engagement with Fiji regime next month

10:07 am on 27 June 2008

The New Zealand Foreign Minister, Winston Peters, says a visit to Fiji next month by the Forum Ministerial Contact Group would strengthen engagement with the interim government over the pathway for a return to democratic, constitutional, rule.

This follows the interim administration pulling out of the Joint Working Group which was aiming to bring Fiji back to democracy.

The Forum Chair, Tonga's Prime Minister Dr Feleti Sevele, has called on Commodore Frank Bainimarama to allow a planned meeting of the Contact Group next month to go ahead.

Mr Peters says the interim government has suggested it wants strengthened

engagement with Forum members, so he hopes Dr Sevele statement is well received.

Mr Peters says Fiji's withdrawal from the Working Group is concerning and disappointing.

He says there is clearly a need to talk about the way forward for Fiji, and it is important this conversation is pursued by the interim government and other stakeholders in Fiji, along with close neighbours from around the region.

Mr Peters says New Zealand has nothing but goodwill for Fiji and wants to see it

politically, economically, and socially strong.