5 Jan 2009

Fiji interim PM confirms attendance of extraordinary Pacific Islands Forum meeting

3:57 pm on 5 January 2009

Fiji's interim prime minister, Commodore Frank Bainimarama, has confirmed that he will attend this month's special Pacific Islands Forum meeting in Papua New Guinea after boycotting the last summit in Niue in August.

Commodore Bainimarama gave the undertaking in his New Year's address.

The meeting is to discuss the situation in Fiji just over two years after the last coup as the regional body has been urging Fiji to return to democracy.

It comes amid a diplomatic low in relations between Fiji and New Zealand and Australia, which Commodore Bainimarama has described as an impasse fuelled by certain individuals both within and outside Fiji.

In 2007 Commodore Bainimarama told Forum leaders that elections would be held by this March.

Last month, he reportedly told traditional chiefs in Suva polls would be held by December.

However, in November the interim indigenous affairs minister said the interim regime wouldn't organise an election this year.

The Fiji budget has no provision to spend money on an election in 2009.