27 Jul 2012

New Zealand lifts travel ban on Fiji regime minister

7:03 pm on 27 July 2012

New Zealand has lifted the travel ban on a key member of the Fiji regime, allowing the interim foreign minister, Ratu Inoke Kubuabola, into New Zealand.

The foreign ministry in Wellington says Ratu Inoke will be in Auckland before travelling to Australia for talks next week with his Australian and New Zealand counterparts.

Last week, he held talks in Suva with the visiting New Zealand foreign minister, Murray McCully, saying the meeting would be etched in the history books of both countries.

Next Monday's Sydney meeting will reportedly assess Fiji's moves to return to democracy and its pledge to hold elections in 2014.

The Australian foreign minister Bob Carr says he doesn't believe Fiji should be allowed back into the Pacific Islands Forum just yet.

Fiji was suspended from the Forum three years ago after it failed to honour its 2007 promise to hold elections.

Both Australia and New Zealand have pledged money towards the Fiji regime's reform programme which involves drawing up a constitution to replace the one it abrogated three years ago.

New Zealand has had travel bans on Fiji coup makers and some of their associates since 2000.