16 Feb 2011

Fiji invitation to Forum group is a move forward says academic

7:31 am on 16 February 2011

A senior academic in Pacific Studies as Auckland University, Dr Steven Ratuva, says the invitation for the Forum Ministerial Contact group to visit Fiji can be seen as a move forward.

After a meeting of the group in Vanuatu on Monday, it is being recommended that the Forum maintain it's stance on Fiji, which has been suspended since 2009.

The interim regime told the meeting it is sticking to 2014 as the date for next elections, despite calls for a vote to be held earlier.

Dr Ratuva says it is good that Fiji has now extended an invitation to the group, but he says the regime might also feel the offer puts it in control:

"I think Fiji is beginning to see itself, and others are beginning to see, Fiji's position being strengthened with the Chinese coming in and with compromises being made and I think that's probably another way of Fiji kind of extending its power saying here I am please come, and in the process of doing that reinforces its new found status within the Pacific."

The Australian government has expressed hope the invitation will be honoured as the interim Prime Minister withdrew a similar offer last year.