23 Feb 2009

Tonga denies Fiji claim that Australia and NZ drive Forum stance

2:35 pm on 23 February 2009

Tonga's Prime Minister says it's a misperception that Australia and New Zealand are imposing their will on other Pacific Islands Forum countries over the Fiji situation.

Dr Feleti Sevele says the Forum decision to threaten Fiji's interim government with partial suspension from the Forum if it doesn't name a date for 2009 elections by May the 1st was made on a consensus basis among members.

Fiji's interim regime has claimed that the Forum stance is being driven by Wellington and Canberra.

While Fiji's interim government is pushing ahead with arranging the agenda and terms of reference for the impending President's Political Dialogue Forum in Fiji, it's also reiterated that it won't hold elections this year.

Dr Sevele says the ball is in the interim regime's court.

"At the end of the day it's up to the Fiji interim government and the people of Fiji to work out what their future is and what they really want. As a Forum, and this is where I said before the meeting in PNG, that we should not be talking about expulsion or suspension of Fiji, we should be talking of finding a way to move forward."

Feleti Sevele