13 Jul 2009

NZ PM says Forum mandate not weakened by MSG decision

10:27 am on 13 July 2009

The New Zealand Prime Minister says a decision by three Melanesian countries to support the decision by Fiji's interim leader to delay elections until 2014, doesn't weaken the mandate of the Pacific Leaders Forum.

The Forum suspended Fiji in May for its failure to hold elections.

The leaders of Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu said over the weekend they support Commodore Frank Bainimarama's plan and will lobby the Forum to lift sanctions.

John Key believes a Pacific wide consensus against Fiji's return to the Forum remains.

He believes the Melanesian support is based on a desire for progress towards democracy.

"I think what is happening with these Melanesian countries is, as I think it is with all the countries of the Pacific, is a genuine desire to see Fiji actually come up with a workable solution that will not only deliver democracy, but the really important point here is to end the long term coup culture in Fiji."

John Key says Fiji will be discussed at next's month's Pacific Leaders Forum but isn't expected to dominate.