Friday, August 22, 2008

Leaders unite to condemn Interim PM

Leaders unite to condemn Interim PM
Friday, August 22, 2008

Australia's Prime Minister Kevin Rudd said this was the first time the Pacific Island leaders Forum had openly condemned together the actions of interim Prime Minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama.
"It is the first time the leaders have condemned directly the actions of Bainimarama in failing to honor his undertakings made to the leaders last year to have election in March 2009," he said.
Mr Rudd told journalists it was the first time the leaders have embraced the possibility of suspension of a member state.
"For the region to speak with a unified voice is a significant step as Fijian politics has been a hard nut to crack in our neighborhood, region and back yard," he said.
Mr Rudd said the leaders were up to their head with "this guy who has been given 18 months to have an election and what he's done is gone back on that commitment.
"We need to tell him that the mood of this family of democracy in the region is unanimous," he said.
Mr Rudd said no diplomatic action would produce immediate results but the fact is that we will not tolerate abuse of democracy and it will not be a norm in the region.
"This is a development of what is called earlier the Biketawa declaration that is opposed to the non acceptability of undemocratic practices," he said.
Mr Rudd said the leaders have embraced this as a possible measure to adopt towards Fiji if it continues not to fulfill its undertakings for an election next March.
He said the leaders agreed to meet in Port Moresby at the end of the year to receive the recommendations of the Ministerial Contact Group with the interim Government.
Mr Rudd said on whether or not any progress would be made would be discussed again by the leaders as this was still unfinished business.
Papua New Guinea Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare expressed concern at the IG's decision not to commit itself to conducting parliamentary election in 2009.
He said it was sad that despite efforts by various leaders find an amicable solution for parliamentary elections Fiji was absent from the meeting.
Mr Rudd said Fiji had good people that did not deserve their democracy exploited.

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