8 Aug 2008

Forum leaders expected to seek new approaches to ensuring elections in Fiji

9:40 am on 8 August 2008

The acting secretary general of the Pacific Islands Forum, Feleti Teo, says when Pacific leaders meet later this month in Niue they will be looking for new ways to ensure Fiji quickly returns to democracy.

The summit will consider a number of issues including the first achievements of the Pacific Plan - namely labour mobility, improved communications and the merging of some key national services to assist small island states.

But Mr Teo says the Fiji situation is likely to dominate proceedings.

Last month Fiji scotched the region's hopes there would be elections as early as March next year, but Mr Teo says dis-engaging is not an option for the leaders, so they will be seeking new approaches.

"I don't think the leaders will see their current efforts as failed and I think they will still want to continue to engage with Fiji in exploring other possibilities or options. I think the ultimate objective of the leaders is to somehow get Fiji back to democratic rule."