15 Jan 2007

Spearhead nations confirm support for Fiji interim administration

10:42 am on 15 January 2007

Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu have declared their support for the military appointed Fiji interim administration installed last week.

Foreign ministers from the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) and the chief executive of Fiji's foreign affairs ministry met in the Solomon Islands capital Honiara at the weekend to discuss the overthrow of the Qarase government in the December coup.

The meeting was chaired by PNG's foreign minister, Paul Tiensten, who said initial concerns over Fiji's fourth coup in 20 years were eased by the acceptance of the interim administration by major institutions in Fiji.

He said support had come from Fiji's Great Council of chiefs, the Fiji Law Society, the Methodist and other churches and similar institutions.

Mr Tiensten said the Melanesian Spearhead Group was there to support Fiji and not place sanctions like some other countries have done.

He said the coup was an internal matter and the MSG would not interfere in domestic politics.

The three countries agreed the MSG would fight any move to have Fiji suspended from the Pacific Islands Forum, adding that any such attempt would not be in line with the founding principles of the Forum.