17 Mar 2007

Pacific Forum countries to form working group to help restore democracy in Fiji

9:44 am on 17 March 2007

Pacific Forum countries will form a Joint Working Group to find credible ways of returning Fiji to democracy.

Fiji TV reports that this is the outcome of the Pacific Forum foreign ministers meeting in Port Vila yesterday which discussed the recent Eminent Persons Report on Fiji.

The Joint Working group will engage with Fiji with the aim of reducing the 3-year timeline for general elections proposed by Fiji's interim administration.

Forum member nations have also offered to provide technical and financial help with elections, assist in the setting up of an Anti-Corruption Commission and in maintaining the independence of the judiciary.

But this would be dependent on an end to human rights abuses in Fiji and the drawing up of a satisfactory roadmap to democracy.

Fiji was represented at the meeting by the interim minister for foreign affairs, Ratu Epeli Nailatikau, and the interim attorney general, Aiyaz Sayed-Khayum.