19 Aug 2008

Fiji Forum boycott deplored by regional politicians

3:28 pm on 19 August 2008

Fiji's ousted prime minister, Laisenia Qarase, says he regrets that Fiji won't be at the Pacific Islands Forum meeting in Niue which opens tomorrow..

Mr Qarase has told Fijilive that the Fiji boycott will have a severe impact on relations with other Pacific neighbours.

Meanwhile, a former Solomon Islands prime minister, Sir Allan Kemakeza, says Fiji's boycott is not in the best interest of the region.

Sir Allan says the Forum would the best venue for the leaders to sort out their differences and also to sort out their countries' differences.

And Australia's foreign minister, Stephen Smith, says the Fiji leader was compelled as a matter of honour to turn up to the Forum and explain himself to the leaders.

Mr Smith says it is very disappointing that he won't turn up to effectively take his medicine.

In Suva, Commodore Bainiamarama has said if Fiji is to remain engaged with the regional group, the Forum will need to support the Charter process.

He says what the interim regime needs is the understanding and support of the Forum and its other international development partners.