Foreign ministers could decide on Fiji's membership - Solomon Star News


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Foreign ministers could decide on Fiji's membership

29 July 2014

The head of the Pacific Islands Forum has suggested the region's foreign ministers could be tasked with deciding whether to lift the suspension of Fiji's membership.

Speaking ahead of the Forum leaders' summit in Palau, Secretary-General Tuiloma Neroni Slade told the ABC the Ministerial Contact Group could monitor Fiji's elections in September and then make a recommendation.
Forum members agreed at their summit in Majuro last September that they would revisit Fiji's suspension this year. However, Slade says they will only do so after Fiji holds "free and fair elections".
“Forum leaders meet once a year and that's a long time to make a final decision," he said.
“One way would be to task the Ministerial Contact Group of six foreign ministers - including the foreign minister of Vanuatu - to continue to monitor the election and make a report on what they consider to be the freeness and fairness of the elections in Fiji.”
The Forum suspended Fiji's government in 2009 after it seized power in a military coup.
In June, New Zealand Prime Minister John Key flagged that he would discuss Fiji's possible return to the Forum during a visit to Samoa, Tonga and Niue.
However, Fiji's foreign minister, Ratu Inoke Kubuabola, has previously said Fiji wouldn't seek to renew its membership unless Australia and New Zealand were expelled as members.
Fiji's polls are due to held on 17 September.