6 Nov 2008

Fiji/Forum group resumes meetings after six-month suspension

2:52 pm on 6 November 2008

The Pacific Islands Forum - Fiji Joint Working Group has agreed to Fiji's request for a review of its terms of reference as the group is trying to assist Fiji in holding elections.

They had been promised by March following the 2006 military coup but the interim regime has backed away from the commitment.

At today's meeting in Suva, Forum members welcomed Fiji's new representative to the working group, Ratu Isoa Gavidi, who is a retired career diplomat.

The meeting was the first since Fiji decided to re-engage in the working group's process, after pulling out in June in protest at the stance taken by Australia and New Zealand.

Fiji has provided an addition to the terms of the reference but Ratu Isoa wasn't willing to discuss details.

"If Fiji feels that something is not covered then perhaps we can include it. If it is already covered then that is a clarification we sought this morning. We have to go back and report what we feel is covered by the terms of reference - it's quite broad and this meeting was just preliminary so it gives us an opportunity to go back and come back. We do want to see some changes but it would be covered in the existing terms of reference."

Ratu Isoa replaces the interim Prime minister's permanent secretary, Parmesh Chand.