19 Jul 2009

Suva regime not invited to Noumea summit

8:08 am on 19 July 2009

France has snubbed Fiji by not inviting its interim regime to a summit with Pacific leaders in New Caledonia this month.

The summit, the third in six years, will be chaired by French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner.

When France held the inaugural gathering in French Polynesia in 2003, a plane was dispatched from Tahiti to Suva to pick up then-prime minister Laisenia Qarase for the day.

Meanwhile, Radio New Zealand International reports New Zealand Foreign Minister Murray McCully is likely to miss the summit because of a conflict of dates with a Commonwealth group which is due to meet in London at the same time to consider Fiji's full suspension.

Fiji was suspended from the Pacific Islands Forum on 1 May over the interim regime's refusal to hold an election in 2009.

The regime came to power in a coup in December 2006. It was the fourth coup in Fiji since 1987.