14 Jul 2009

MSG's Fiji stance is no sign of Forum ethnic split, says academic

12:54 pm on 14 July 2009

A Pacific academic says the Melanesian Spearhead Group's decision to back Fiji is not a sign the Pacific Islands Forum is splitting down ethnic lines.

Last week, the governments of Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu said they would attempt to get the Pacific Islands Forum to lift Fiji's suspension.

Dr Teresia Teaiwa, the Programme Director of Pacific Studies at Victoria University, says the Melanesian Spearhead Group has not broken ranks.

She says other regional leaders have made it clear, that although they uphold the Forum decision to suspend Fiji, they believe that dialogue should still be pursued.

"I think that's simply what the MSG is saying too, that just because Fiji kind of dropped the ball, or failed to live up to its commitments, it doesn't mean that other Pacific governments shouldn't attempt to keep the door open and keep an open mind."

Dr Teresia Teaiwa