20 Aug 2008

Fiji leader gives notice

6:12 am on 20 August 2008

Fiji's interim prime minister, Commodore Frank Bainimarama, has indicated his country might withdraw from the Pacific Islands Forum altogether.

He is already boycotting a meeting of forum leaders in Niue, which will be considering a report on whether Fiji is ready to hold elections early next year.

The report by Pacific foreign ministers says there is no logistical barrier to elections taking place.

But a statement from Commodore Bainimarama says if the report is supported without reservation by the leaders, he will tell the people of Fiji they will have to pursue their own way forward.

Fiji announced shortly before the forum was due to start that it would not be attending.

Commodore Bainimarama seized power in Fiji in December 2006. It was the fourth coup there since 1987.

He says Fiji is being pressured to return to democratic rule too quickly. Mr Bainimarama gave a commitment at last year's Pacific Islands Forum in Tonga to hold democratic elections in Fiji by March 2009.