By Hayley J. Campbell
Impunity Watch Reporter, Oceania
SUVA, Fiji – Following a decision to possibly suspend Fiji from the Pacific Forum, Fiji’s interim prime minister has accused Pacific leaders of all but declaring war on Fiji.
New Zealand’s Prime Minister, John Key, meanwhile, has called interim prime minister Commodore Frank Bainimarama’s reaction “ridiculous.”
On Tuesday, the Pacific Forum, an association of over sixteen independent and self-governing Pacific states, met in Papua New Guinea to discuss placing sanctions on Fiji for Bainimarama’s refusal to set a date for holding democratic elections.
Forum members voted on whether to ban Fiji from future meetings, as well as, suspend any development aid and technical assistance if Fiji has not set a date for elections by May 1, 2009.
Mr. Key has defended the Forum’s stance, saying the group has Fiji’s best interest in mind.
“They are totally ridiculous statement for Frank Bainimarama to be making and as far as we are concerned, the Forum wants Fiji to succeed, we extended a hand of friendship but that hand of friendship has to be done in a way where Fiji needs to understand that there needs to be a return to democracy,” Key said.
For more information, please see:
International Herald Tribune – Little chance seen of Fiji caving to pressure – 28 January 2009
Radio New Zealand International – New Zealand’s PM says Bainimarama reaction is ’ridiculous’ – 28 January 2009
Radio New Zealand International – NZ and Solomons PMs defend Forum’s decision on Fiji – 28 January 2009