5 May 2009

Samoa rejects Fiji claims about small states' Forum stance

1:30 pm on 5 May 2009

The Prime Minister of Samoa is rejecting accusations that Australia and New Zealand pushed smaller Pacific countries into backing the suspension of Fiji from the Pacific Islands Forum.

Fiji's interim Attorney General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum says the two countries used their economic and political power to influence the position of other Pacific leaders.

But Samoa's Prime Minister, Tuilaepa Sailele, says the Forum had no choice but to proceed with the suspension once the regime failed to meet its deadline for announcing an election date.

He says the government in Fiji already understood this well and it is ridiculous for the interim Attorney General to suggest otherwise.

"That is very stupid view by the Attorney General. The decision by the Forum follows the very long and many efforts by the Forum countries to try and reach a consensus with Bainimarama."

Tuilaepa Sailele says he does not believe Commodore Bainimarama will take any advice from the Forum.