8 Jul 2009

New Zealand PM says Forum members would like Fiji back within the fold

10:21 am on 8 July 2009

New Zealand's Prime Minister John Key says the fifteen active members of the Pacific Islands Forum would prefer to see Fiji back in the regional body.

Fiji was suspended from the forum in May, after it failed to meet a deadline to hold elections.

Speaking in Tonga on the first leg of his goodwill trip of the Pacific, Mr Key reiterated his government's disappointment at the Fiji interim government's current pathway to democracy.

He says for Fiji to resume as an active Forum member, the rest of the members would need to see democracy restored in Fiji in a suitable time frame.

"The Forum made it quite clear it wanted to see democratically-held elections to take place by March of 2009. The current target of 2014 is a long, long way away and clearly outside of what I think the expectations of all those Pacific leaders were."