27 Nov 2006

Fiji leader opposed to Pacific ministers intervening in crisis with military

7:43 pm on 27 November 2006

Fiji does not want any foreign intervention in its affairs when foreign ministers from Pacific Forum countries meet in Sydney on Friday.

Radio Legend reports that this has been made clear by Fiji's acting minister for foreign affairs, Tom Vuetilovoni.

Mr Vuetilovoni says the prime minister, Laisenia Qarase, only wants members of the Pacific Forum to be briefed on the situation in Fiji.

He says the government is not trying to invoke the Biketawa declaration and call for overseas intervention.

The Australian foreign minister, Alexander Downer, said last week he would be asking Mr Qarase to convene a meeting of Forum foreign ministers in his capacity as the current chair of the Forum.

The secretary general of the Forum Secretariat, Greg Urwin, has confirmed calling the meeting in accordance with the Biketawa Declaration at Mr Qarase's request.

The Biketawa Declaration was signed after the Fiji coup in 2000 and provides for intervention by a foreign security force at the request of a government.

Mr Downer has said he wants to meet Pacific foreign ministers to discuss ways to deal with the threat of a coup in Fiji.