19 Jan 2009

Minor Fiji political party launches scathing attack on Forum Chairman

12:22 pm on 19 January 2009

A small Fiji party has launched a scathing attack on the chair of the Pacific Islands Forum, Toke Talagi, and called for the Forum to split.

The Conservative Alliance Matanitu Vanua Party says Mr Talagi is a puppet of Australia, New Zealand and Samoa, making sweeping remarks about Fiji and why it should rush back to democracy.

The party's spokesman, Ropate Sivo, says Fiji should stick with its Melanesian brothers and urged the prime minister of Papua New Guinea, Sir Michael Somare, to take the lead in merging all Melanesian countries to make one big state.

Mr Sivo says the Polynesian and Micronesian states can remain with Australia and New Zealand and set up their secretariat in Apia, Samoa.

The comment comes a week ahead of a special Forum leaders meeting in PNG to discuss the Fiji situation and its refusal to hold elections by March as promised in 2007.

Fiji has ruled out elections this year, with the interim regime yet to say when it will relinquish power.

Last year's Forum meeting agreed that it would consider suspending Fiji but last week, Tonga appears to have distanced itself from that option, saying there should be no talk about expulsion or suspension of Fiji.