Fiji hopes against suspension from regional bloc

April 29th, 2009 - 11:41 pm ICT by IANS  

Suva, April 29 (Xinhua) Fiji’s Attorney General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum Wednesday said the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) might not suspend his country from the grouping in the wake of its failure to announce a date to hold parliamentary elections.
The PIF has set a May 1 deadline for Fiji to announce a date to hold general elections to restore democracy in the country, which was plunged into a political crisis in early April when the country’s President Ratu Josefa Iloilo revoked the constitution and sacked the judiciary. The government has also imposed strict curbs on media.

Sayed-Khaiyum said Prime Minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama has been informing the PIF and its members on recent developments in Fiji.

“The prime minister’s office has been busy dealing with this and I don’t think that Fiji will be excluded from the PIF activities,” the FijiLive website quoted him as saying Wednesday.

Meanwhile the leaders of the 15-nation forum, which has its headquarters in Fiji’s capital Suva, have said the situation in Fiji has not changed and their stand to suspend the country had hardened.

“The regional body will stand by its deadline to suspend Fiji from the group” if the situations remain unchanged, PIF chairman and Niue Premier Toke Talagi said earlier Wednesday.

Stressing that the regional leaders will back-up their threat to suspend Fiji from the forum, Talagi said: “The leaders have variously responded and have agreed that May 1 should be maintained as the deadline.”

“They have also indicated that it would be preferable that the meeting of ministers of foreign affairs take place so that we can determine a path forward given the current changed circumstances in Fiji,” he added.

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