26 Jun 2008

Uncertainty over Fiji/Forum meeting after Fiji boycott

1:58 pm on 26 June 2008

A special Pacific Islands Forum meeting on Fiji has taken place despite no members of Fiji's interim administration being present.

The Fiji Joint Working Group meeting went ahead in the face of a boycott by Fiji over what it sees as a lack of support by Australia and New Zealand.

It had met 30 times since last year to discuss ways to restore democracy to Fiji after the 2006 military coup.

But last weekend, Commodore Frank Bainimarama pulled Fiji out of the talks, citing Australia and New Zealand's travel bans on Fiji nationals as examples of how they are hampering progress in Fiji.

Despite staying out of the talks, the special meeting on Fiji took place today with senior officials attending from Australia, the Federated States of Micronesia, Kiribati, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea and Tuvalu.

The Chair of the Forum's Working Group, Peter Eafeare, the PNG High Commissioner to Fiji, declined to be interviewed about the meeting.

It is not known whether the group will again meet without Fiji's presence.