27 Mar 2007

MSG views engagement with Fiji interim government as best way forward

6:46 pm on 27 March 2007

Papua New Guinea's secretary of foreign affairs says engagement with Fiji's interim government is the best approach to encouraging a return to democracy in Fiji.

Gabriel Pepson has just returned from Vanuatu where he was part of the PNG delegation that signed the Melanesian Spearhead Group's formal commitment to the new MSG constitution.

Fiji was included in Friday's signing despite earlier indications by MSG leaders that its military-government had been told it wouldn't be able to sign.

However, the wording of the agreement's preamble, relating to the signatories, changed from "government" to "state", which Mr Pepson says allowed for Fiji's inclusion.

He says the Fiji situation is an evolving one.

"The MSG leaders took on board some of the changes that are taking place. But most importantly they recognised that while we are all not happy with what has happened, the important thing from now on as far as Fiji is concerned is to focus on a way forward. And in that regard, they thought that the best way forward is to engage with Fiji."