22 Aug 2008

Fiji interim government blames New Zealand for its "no-show" at Forum summit

9:42 am on 22 August 2008

Fiji's Interim Foreign Affairs Minister, Ratu Epeli Nailatikau, says claims that Fiji's failure to attend the Forum Summit was on account of their inability to hold elections in March 2009 was intentionally misleading .

Ratu Epeli says the claim overlooks the fact that Fiji's intention to attend and participate fully in Forum meeting processes in Niue and Auckland was frustrated and ultimately prevented by the New Zealand government.

He says the selective use of the provision of the Biketawa Declaration to threaten the suspension of Fiji from the Forum is not only inappropriate but goes against the principle of inclusiveness and dialogue which is integral to the Pacific way.

The minister says the commandment for the work of the contact group again demonstrates bias for a failed process that has been dominated by the New Zealand and the Australian political agenda.

Ratu Epeli says the suggestion that the Forum stands ready to assist Fiji sounds hollow and meaningless.