21 Jan 2009

Forum chair says Fiji Forum suspension talk is media driven

1:55 pm on 21 January 2009

The Chair of the Pacific Islands Forum, Toke Talagi, appears to be backing down from a threat to suspend Fiji if it doesn't move toward democratic elections.

The Forum is due to hold a meeting in Papua New Guinea next week to discuss the situation in Fiji, a meeting which the interim Prime Minister, Frank Bainimarama, has decided not to attend, so he can deal with the aftermath of last week's flood.

The communique issued after last August's Forum meeting in Niue said a further special meeting of Forum Leaders would consider special measures in relation to Fiji, including the suspension of particular governments from the Forum.

But Mr Talagi says the suspension issue has been driven by the media, and the Forum is following the protocols in the Biketawa Declaration.

"The question of suspension was one that was raised at the meeting here in Niue and I have made it quite clear that in fact, we may consider it, but it is certainly not something that would be easily decided on by the leaders if it is even considered at the meeting in Papua New Guinea."

Chair of the Pacific Islands Forum, Toke Talagi.