30 Jul 2009

New Caledonian President says no place for Fiji in Pacific

3:30 pm on 30 July 2009

The New Caledonian president, Philippe Gomes, says Fiji has no place among South Pacific countries until a proper election has been held.

Mr Gomes says Fiji had been given a chance to remain fully engaged with the Pacific Islands Forum but by not holding elections, the interim regime did the opposite of what it had promised.

Walter Zweifel reports from Noumea

"Philippe Gomes says he fully supports the French decision not to invite the Fiji regime to tomorrow's French summit with Pacific leaders in Noumea. After Fiji reneged on its election promise to the Forum, he says there is no point to keep warning the Fiji regime which installed itself in a dictatorial manner. For Mr Gomes, the onus is on Fiji to show a commitment to credible elections if it is to rejoin the regional grouping or be invited to future summits with France. He also says there is undoubtedly disappointment in the territory that this year's summit won't be hosted by the French president or the prime minister, but to the foreign minister Bernard Kouchner."