6 Jul 2009

MSG talks represent window for Fiji's re-engagement with region

7:16 pm on 6 July 2009

A Pacific academic says that Melanesian Spearhead Group talks with Fiji this week indicate a critical move by Fiji's leadership to become re-engaged with Pacific Island Forum countries.

Leaders of the MSG member countries will attend a retreat in Vanuatu later this week ahead of August's Forum summit.

The MSG secretariat says the leaders retreat will include Fiji's interim Prime Minister Commodore Frank Bainimarama.

Fiji's suspension from the Forum and the interim government's roadmap towards elections are expected to be key points of discussion.

Dr Steven Ratuva from Auckland University's Centre for Pacific Studies says the retreat offers Fiji alternative means of engagement since being left out of recent regional discussion...

"On one hand, the Forum are trying to manoeuvre Fiji out of any engagement, and on the other hand, Fiji is trying to manoeuvre itself into re-engagement by going through the MSG. I think a number of things they'll be talking about will be to do with how the Forum could facilitate Fiji's re-entry into the Forum agenda and secondly, in terms of strengthening the Forum trade relations."

Dr Steven Ratuva