20 Aug 2008

Outgoing Forum Chair rebuffs Fiji Interim PM's claim over Tonga Forum

8:52 pm on 20 August 2008

The outgoing chair of the Pacific Islands Forum has strongly rebuffed suggestions from Fiji's interim leader, Commodore Frank Bainimarama, that he was forced into making commitments to hold elections by March next year during last year's Forum in Tonga.

Tonga's Prime Minister, Dr Feleti Sevele, speaking during the opening the Pacific Islands Forum summit in Niue, says he and the other Forum leaders are very disappointed that Fiji is not at this year's meeting.

Dr Sevele says the Commodore willingly signed the Seven Point Plan for Fiji that had been drawn up and there was no coercion as the interim Prime Minister has claimed.

And he says the Forum remains ready to help Fiji.

"But Fiji has to play its due part. The interim Prime Minister has an obligation to explain in person to the Forum leaders as to why he could not fulfill those commitments he made last year."