18 Feb 2008

Vanuatu leader says ball is in Bainimarama's court over hoped for Fiji election

8:16 pm on 18 February 2008

Vanuatu Prime Minister Ham Lini has met with his New Zealand counterpart Helen Clark in Wellington on his first official visit to the country.

They discussed New Zealand's ongoing assistance to Vanuatu in areas of corrections, education and policing, and ni-Vanuatu participation in New Zealand's Recognised Seasonal Employer scheme.

They also talked about regional security issues in places such as Fiji and Solomon islands

Both leaders voiced hope that Fiji's interim Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama will honour his commitment to the Pacific Islands Forum to hold an election by March of next year.

However Mr Lini admits that despite the efforts of the Melanesian Spearhead Group and the Forum, it is up to Commodore Bainimarama himself to keep his word.

"Well I think the problem is that if the Commodore cannot stand up to do what he promised to do in the Forum. but everything depends so much on [his] position. We in the Melanesian countries can put things in place but at the end it is up to him whether he does it or not."