16 Jul 2008

Forum ministers end Fiji talks, report due in Niue in August

5:47 pm on 16 July 2008

Pacific Islands Forum Ministers have ended their talks with Fiji leaders amid regional efforts to restore democratic government in Fiji by March following the 2006 military coup.

The ministers met the interim regime and the ousted prime minister during their two-day consultations which come a month before the annual Forum summit in Niue.

The interim prime minister, Commodore Frank Bainimarama, has signalled that conditions are not right for Fiji to go to the polls next year.

The Forum ministers, however, say they have seen and heard nothing in their meetings in Suva that would suggest elections cannot be held as previously expected by March.

One of the ministers, Australia's foreign minister, Stephen Smith, says the talks were a good thing.

"We are not proposing to go through the detail of the conversations we've had, that's the first thing. Anyway, the second point which is this: the fact that we are her, the fact that we have had this dialogue, the fact that we have had these discussions is in itself an unambiguously good thing."

Stephen Smith