11 Feb 2011

Ministers to assess Fiji progress towards democracy

8:51 pm on 11 February 2011

Government ministers from six Pacific nations are to meet in Vanuatu next week to assess what progress has been made towards democracy in Fiji.

Prime Minister Sato Kilman will chair the meeting of the Pacific Islands Forum's ministerial contact group in Port Vila, which includes representatives from New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Tuvalu, Samoa and Australia, Radio New Zealand International reports.

New Zealand's Foreign Affairs Minster Murray McCully says interim Fiji Foreign Minister Ratu Inoke Kubuabola has been invited to part of the meeting.

The ministerial contact group was established three years ago to monitor the situation in Fiji and report back developments to the region's leaders.

When the group last met in Auckland last year, plans for a visit to Fiji to assess the situation first-hand were scuttled by interim leader Commodore Frank Bainimarama.

Commodore Bainimarama had taken exception to comments by the then Australian Foreign Minister Stephen Smith that the situation in Fiji had worsened and little progress towards elections in 2014 had been made.