Tuesday, June 10, 2008

NZ PM Clark seeks Forum unity on Fiji unity

Clark seeks Forum unity on Fiji unity
10 JUN 2008

New Zealand’s Prime Minister Helen Clark says it’s important for the South Pacific Forum to remain united on the Fiji issue.She says this is extremely important given the unity achieved on the Fiji situation at the Pacific Islands Forum in Tonga last year and at the forum Foreign Ministers meeting on Fiji in Auckland in March.Clark’s comments came during discussions with Kiribati President Anote Tong in Wellington on aid for Kiribati and what to do about Fiji at the Niue Pacific leaders' summit in August, reports the NZ Herald newspaper.At the forum in Tonga, Fiji's interim leader and military leader, Commodore Frank Bainimarama, "made a lot of commitments", Clark said."But they seem to be being observed more in the breach than anything else and the forum will have to wrestle again with those issues this time," she said.Fiji has promised to hold elections by the end of next March.Bainimarama has said a new People's Charter - yet to be put to the vote in a referendum - will have to be in place before the election.But interim Foreign Minister Ratu Epeli Nailatikau has since said the election will go ahead by the deadline.The forum's mandate to deal with member countries that abandon democracy was negotiated in Kiribati in 2000, and is called the Biketawa Declaration, named after the island on which it was confirmed.New Zealand's sanctions include restricting entry to New Zealand of the military and senior Government officials and their families.

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