30 Aug 2006

New Zealand and Australia ready to help Fiji with Forum summit

1:53 pm on 30 August 2006

Australia and New Zealand have offered help to Fiji which has agreed to host the Pacific Islands Forum at short notice.

Last week, Tonga asked that its hosting rights be put off until next year in case the country is in mourning for King Taufa'ahau Tupou the IV at the time of the summit.

The king is in a New Zealand hospital.

The secretary general of the Forum, Greg Urwin, says the meeting will go ahead at the same time as previously scheduled - the last week of October.

He says the nature of the assistance from Australia and New Zealand has still to be worked out.

"It is not an exercise without cost and it comes at very short notice for Fiji. These were bilateral discussions but as I understand it the two countries were indicating to Fiji that if there were things they could do to make the assumption of this burden easier they would look at that."

Greg Urwin