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Forum MCG on Fiji concludes meeting in NZ

Press Release – Pacific Island Forum

The Pacific Islands Forum’s Ministerial Contact Group (MCG) on Fiji met in Auckland, New Zealand today, 31 May 2010, to continue Forum efforts to engage with Fiji authorities on addressing the situation in Fiji.Latest Press Statement

31 May 2010

Forum MCG on Fiji concludes meeting in NZ

PRESS RELEASE (54/10)

 

The Pacific Islands Forum’s Ministerial Contact Group (MCG) on Fiji met in Auckland, New Zealand today, 31 May 2010, to continue Forum efforts to engage with Fiji authorities on addressing the situation in Fiji.

The MCG was chaired by the Prime Minister of Tonga, Hon. Feleti V. Sevele. The other participants were the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Australia, Hon. Stephen Smith, the Minister for Foreign Affairs of New Zealand, Hon. Murray McCully, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Papua New Guinea, Hon. Samuel Abal, the Minister for Works, Transport and Infrastructure of Samoa, Hon Tuisugaletaua Sofara Aveau and the Minister for Home Affairs and Rural Development of Tuvalu, Hon. Willy Telavi.

The MCG Chair said he was pleased with the constructive and cordial nature of MCG discussions. The MCG received a report on Fiji from the Secretary General of the Pacific Islands Forum. The MCG expressed concern at the political and economic challenges facing Fiji but there was a clear commitment from all Ministers to continue to offer Fiji the Forum’s assistance in addressing its challenges. MCG members highlighted the importance of Fiji establishing an inclusive and open political dialogue process in order to advance sustainable progress back to parliamentary democracy.

At the invitation of the Chair, the interim Minister for Foreign Affairs of Fiji, Ratu Inoke Kubuabola, provided a presentation to the MCG outlining the Fiji government’s views. He also expressed a commitment to maintaining engagement with the Pacific Islands Forum, describing it as an important regional partner for Fiji’s return to parliamentary democracy.

The Chair confirmed the interest of the MCG visiting Fiji to engage the full range of Fiji stakeholders as they had twice in 2008. In this regard, the Chair welcomed the invitation from Fiji’s interim Foreign Minister for such a visit at a time to be determined by mutual agreement. The MCG will be reporting to Forum Leaders in advance of their next meeting in Port Vila from 3-6 August 2010 as mandated by the Leaders’ January 2009 Port Moresby Special Retreat meeting.

“Although suspended by Leaders from the Forum for reasons which remain entirely valid, Fiji continues to be an important regional partner and it is essential for all of us, including Fiji, to seek constructive engagement in the broader interests of all the people of the Pacific”, the MCG Chair said “While significant differences remain between Fiji and the rest of the Forum membership, the MCG provides an important mechanism to pursue a constructive two-way dialogue with Fiji aimed at resolving our differences and assisting its return to full parliamentary democracy”, Prime Minister Sevele said.

Speaking on behalf of all MCG Ministers, the Chair expressed warm appreciation for the Government of New Zealand for its generous offer to host this meeting of the MCG.

ENDS

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