26 Jun 2012

Bainimarama visit to New Caledonia as MSG head postponed

5:13 pm on 26 June 2012

A visit to New Caledonia by Fiji's interim Prime Minister Commodore Frank Bainimarama has been postponed.

The regime leader was due to visit the French territory next week as chairman of the Melanesian Spearhead Group.

Sally Round reports.

"The Commodore was to head a delegation charged with assessing the implementation of the Noumea Accord on greater autonomy for the territory. New Caledonia's pro-independence FLNKS Movement is an MSG member and is to host its next summit. MSG diplomats last week met in Suva to plan the visit but the Fiji Sun reports it has now been postponed due to political developments in New Caledonia. The paper quotes Fiji's interim Foreign Minister Ratu Inoke Kubuabola as saying it would not be prudent to go ahead. This follows criticism by influential non Kanak politicians who said there is no call to host the region's only dictator. The leader of the Caledonia Together party, Philippe Gomes, also said the visit would go against the position taken by the Pacific Islands Forum, Australia and New Zealand."