27 Feb 2009

Commonwealth to examine Fiji status

2:40 pm on 27 February 2009

Ministers from nine Commonwealth countries are expected next week in London for talks on Fiji's continuing suspension from councils of the organisation.

A statement from the Commonwealth said the Ministerial Action Group -- which includes the foreign ministers of New Zealand and Papua New Guinea -- will meet next Wednesday.

The Commonwealth suspended Fiji from its councils soon after the military overthrew the elected government in December 2006.

Unconfirmed reports from Fiji suggest the Commonwealth ministers will discuss the possible suspension of all Fiji's contact with the organisation.

The Fiji Times indicated that a scheduled British Army recruitment visit next month had been deferred because of the possibility of Fiji's complete suspension.

But the Commonwealth Secretary General's spokesperson, Eduardo Del Buey, has told Radio New Zealand International that before the meeting, he would not discuss the options available to the ministers.

Last month, the Pacific Island Forum threatened Fiji with Forum membership suspension if the interim regime failed to set a 2009 election date by May the 1st.

The Fiji interim regime has said there will be no election this year.