28 Apr 2009

Australia firm on Fiji ahead of Forum suspension deadline

3:12 pm on 28 April 2009

Australia says it is maintaining its hardline on suspending Fiji from the Pacific Islands Forum and the Commonwealth.

The Australian prime minister, Kevin Rudd, says Fiji has brought it on itself by suspending the constitution, attacking the independence of judges and curtailing press freedom.

Mr Rudd made the comment after talks with his Papua New Guinea counterpart, Sir Michael Somare, in Canberra.

He says he has discussed the situation with Sir Michael and PNG is also adopting a strong line.

Sir Michael says he thinks the exercise Fiji has taken recently, particularly the suspension of the constitution and the dismissal of the judges, leaves no room for others.

Fiji faces suspension from the Forum if it fails to give a 2009 election date by Friday.