Friday, August 22, 2008

Testing time for forum: Dorney

Testing time for forum: Dorney
Friday, August 22, 2008

REGIONAL media veteran Sean Dorney says the implication of Fiji's suspension from the Forum if the worst case scenario happens was difficult to gauge because it had never happened before.
"I mean it has never happened before so where do you base the Forum if Fiji is suspended - this will have a lot of implications," he said.
Mr Dorney, who is based with the Australia Network TV in Brisbane, said even though the leaders decided to give the interim Prime Minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama a month or two before taking tough actions, he could not see him changing.
"This is a huge crisis for the Forum and we must understand the decision to suspend Fiji was just a consideration by the leaders at this stage," he said.
Mr Dorney said the final verdict to be made in Papua New Guinea in December was a major one and until that was finalised the implications remained to be known.
He said this was really a testing time for the Forum.
"I have not got my head around it to think beyond the decision," said Mr Dorney, who has been covering stories since 1974 in PNG and later since 1979 in the region.
He said the other issue was the implication the EU would have as they have closely followed the Forum decisions of Fiji.
"The EU has been following the Forum's lead as mentioned by New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark," said Mr Dorney.
He said the implications for Fiji's relationship with Fiji and the money attached to it should be a worry.
"That is an issue Fiji should be worried about rather than the Forum's proposed suspension," said Mr Dorney.
He said the dilemma was that Fiji was also the hub of the Pacific and whether the Forum could afford to expel Fiji as the Secretariat and other regional agencies was based there was yet to be assessed.
"What do you do is the question," said Mr Dorney.
He said the other countries were worried if the Forum failed to address the issue in Fiji as they were not the only one with military forces.
"The countries are worried about the signal that is sent if the Forum does nothing about the coup in Fiji," said Mr Dorney.
He does not believe Commodore Bainimarama has a lot of support from members of the Forum.
Mr Dorney says in the worst case scenario he doubts there would ever be military intervention.
"I cannot see in my wildest dreams Australia or New Zealand doing anything on the ground in Fiji," he said.
Claims of military intervention in Fiji in 2006 could never be real - it would be catastrophic and anything like that would be at the intervention of the Government.
Mr Dorney said the situation in Fiji was "as Voreqe says the military is in control."

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