1 Jul 2008

Commonwealth delegate assists Fiji in quest for political forum

3:07 pm on 1 July 2008

Efforts to organise a political forum in Fiji are being pushed forward with a visit to the country by the Commonwealth Secretary General's Representative to Fiji, Sir Paul Reeves.

Fiji's Interim Prime Minister has release a statement saying Sir Paul will be consulting with all key stakeholders including the interim government and political parties to establish terms of reference.

Commodore Bainimarama said the main purpose of the forum, as mandated by the President, was to discuss the steps needed to change Fiji's electoral system in order to hold free and fair elections as soon as practicable.

The ousted opposition leader, Mick Beddoes, says he is expecting to speak to Sir Paul.

But he says until terms of reference are drawn up he cannot be sure he will support such a forum:

"If the intent is that somehow we rubber stamp what it is they want to do and they are not interested in talking, then certainly I wouldn't be interested in any , that's not dialogue so I wouldn't be interested in participating."

But Mr Beddoes says it would be worth taking part if the outcome was not pre-ordained.

The interim administration is describing the forum as facilitated by the Commonwealth and the UN.

However a deputy spokesperson for the UN Secretary General says while the UN is continuing consultations with Fiji and the Commonwealth, it has made no further commitment.