13 Sep 2013

Fiji says it won't rejoin Forum unless there are changes

3:11 pm on 13 September 2013

The Fiji prime minister, Commodore Frank Bainimarama, says his country has no desire to return to the Pacific Islands Forum unless the agency ends its domination by New Zealand and Australia.

Mr Bainimarama says both countries effectively control the regional body.

Fiji has been suspended from the Forum since 2009 for failing to hold early elections but at last week's summit in Majuro the leaders agreed to review this after next year's elections.

But Commodore Bainimarama told Auckland based Radio Tarana Fiji will not return unless there are changes at the Forum.

"We are not interested in going back until it stops being the play thing of the Aussies and the Kiwis. When it becomes a genuine expression of the will of the Pacific Islanders themselves, then we will go back, then we will think about re-joining the Forum. We have also gone beyond the region to chair the G77 - the biggest voting blockk at the United Nations. We are leading the Pacific small island developing states at the UN. We are leading players in the MSG. We have joined the non-aligned movement. So it is really no big deal the Forum."