Thursday, December 11, 2008


The Pacific Islands Forum Ministerial Contact Group made its second visit to Fiji this week. 

Ministers said their discussions with the Interim Prime Minister and other key stakeholders had been frank and informative.

Ministers expressed disappointment that the Fiji Interim Government had confirmed that it did not intend to hold elections by March 2009, in line with its previous commitments to Forum Leaders.

Ministers said the visit reflected Forum members’ continued commitment to constructive dialogue with Fiji, and to support and encourage Fiji to return to democracy, within the framework of the decisions of Forum Leaders.

While in Fiji the Ministerial Contact Group held discussions with Interim Prime Minister Bainimarama and the Interim Attorney-General, officials from the Electoral Commission and Office of the Supervisor of Elections, and political leaders including deposed Prime Minister Mr Qarase and Leader of the Opposition Mr Beddoes.

In accordance with the directions given to the Ministerial Contact Group by Forum Leaders in their Niue Communiqué, the Ministers’ talks focused on the progress of the Interim Government’s preparations for elections, developments in relation to the political dialogue process, and the likelihood of political consensus arising from it.

Ministers thanked the Interim Government of Fiji for its facilitation of the visit, and expressed the hope that their talks had contributed to greater understanding of the importance of the restoration of democracy without further delay.
The Ministerial Contact Group, which has been tasked by Leaders with continued monitoring of the situation in Fiji, will provide a report to Forum Leaders on its findings and recommendations in preparation for Leaders’ proposed special meeting, which is likely to take place in January 2009.

The Group comprised Ministers from Australia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Tonga (Chair) and Tuvalu
For more information, please contact Ms Andie Fong Toy, Director Political and Security Programme, Forum Secretariat, Ph +679 331 2600 or email


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