Pacific Scoop

High-powered Pacific Forum meeting held on Fiji in Auckland today

Australia's foreign minister Stephen Smith (pictured left) will meet with his NZ counterpart Murray McCully and Pacific leaders in Auckland over Fiji's progress toward holding elections in 2014. (Photo courtesy of Scoop Media.)

Pacific Scoop:
Report – By PMC newsdesk.

Australia’s foreign minister Stephen Smith and his New Zealand counterpart Murray McCully will meet with other Pacific leaders in Auckland today to discuss Fiji and its progress, or otherwise, on constitutional change and its roadmap to an election in 2014.

Fiji has also been invited to attend the meeting and is sending its foreign minister Ratu Inoke Kubuabola. New Zealand has temporarily wavered its travel sanctions with respect to Kubuabola and his officials so Fiji can take part.

The meeting is a Pacific Islands Forum initiative.

The Ministerial Contact Group (MCG) is a grouping of Forum member state Foreign Ministers. It comprises the Prime Ministers of Samoa, Tonga and Tuvalu – and the Foreign Ministers of Australia, New Zealand and Papua New Guinea. The Prime Minister of Tonga, Hon. Feleti V. Sevele, will Chair of the Group.

Earlier in May Papua New Guinnea Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare visited NZ with a message that NZ and Australia ought to soften their foreign policy against Fiji and work closely with the islands nation, helping it to advance constitutional change, and commit to elections.

Currently, Fiji’s military leader and regime Prime Minister Voreqe (Frank) Bainimarama ruled out elections before 2014.

The results of today’s meeting will be compiled into a report, which will be presented for consideration by Pacific Forum leaders at this year’s Forum Meeting that will be held in Port Vila Vanuatu in August.

Click here to listen to Scoop co-editor Selwyn Manning and Kathryn Jensen discussing the meeting on Radio Adelaide this morning.

See also, PIF Contact Group on Fiji to meet in NZ.