14 Aug 2009

Fiji visit by Commonwealth envoy called off

12:57 pm on 14 August 2009

A planned visit by a senior Commonwealth official to Fiji to encourage its military regime to hold democratic elections has been cancelled because of a clash of diary dates.

Fiji's interim leader, Frank Bainimarama, issued an invitation to the Commonwealth after being warned the country would be tossed out of the 53-member group of countries if it failed to commit to democratic elections in 2010.

A spokesman for the Commonwealth Secretary-General, Kamalesh Sharma, says while the invitation was viewed as a positive move on Fiji's part, there were no suitable dates for it to go ahead.

But Mr Sharma has reiterated his readiness for the Commonwealth to meet with the Fiji regime at a time that is mutually convenient.