30 Apr 2009

Forum yet to say if Fiji will be suspended over election date row

3:10 pm on 30 April 2009

The Pacific Islands Forum is yet to say whether it will go through with its threat to suspend Fiji from some of the agency's activities following the military led government's failure to commit to elections by the end of this year.

The Forum leaders, at a meeting in Port Moresby in January, issued Commodore Frank Bainimarama an ultimatum that he commit to elections by May the 1st or he and his officials would be suspended from taking part in Forum meetings and events.

They also said that if the interim Government failed to hold elections this year it would no longer benefit from Forum programmes and technical assistance.

The interim Government has ignored the ultimatum but its Attorney General Aiyaz Sayed Khaiyum has said he does not expect the suspension to proceed.

A number of the leaders in the region have raised concerns about going ahead with the suspension, saying channels of communication with the interim regime need to be kept open.

The leaders had also indicated at their Port Moresby meeting that Fiji could later face full suspension from the Forum.