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Fiji-Forum links need to be maintained says Peters


Fiji-Forum links need to be maintained, says Peters

A visit to Fiji by the Forum Ministerial Contact Group would strengthen engagement with the interim government over the pathway for a return to democratic, constitutional rule, Foreign Minister Winston Peters said today.

The Forum Chair, Prime Minister Dr Feleti Sevele of Tonga, has proposed a visit to Fiji by the Contact Group next month.

“Fiji’s interim government has suggested it would like strengthened engagement with Forum members, so New Zealand hopes today’s statement by the Forum Chair is well received,” Mr Peters said.

“The Contact Group was established at a meeting of Forum Foreign Ministers in Auckland in March, and comprises Ministers from Papua New Guinea, Tuvalu, New Zealand, Tonga, Samoa and Australia.

“A visit to Fiji by the Contact Group would be particularly timely. The interim government announced earlier this week that it will withdraw from the Fiji/Forum Joint Working Group, and has also made recent statements that run counter to its Forum commitments.

“These developments are concerning and disappointing. There is clearly a need to talk about the way forward for Fiji, and it is important that this conversation is pursued by the interim government and other stakeholders in Fiji, along with close neighbours from around the region.

“New Zealand has nothing but goodwill for Fiji. We want to see it politically, economically, and socially strong. We care deeply about what happens, but it is also clear to us that Fiji will not prosper if it continues on its current path.”

Mr Peters also expressed concern about a leaked report of the Fiji Human Rights Commission, alleging a conspiracy against the Fiji judiciary.

”There is no basis for the fanciful suggestion that New Zealand officials have been engaged in any activity against the independence of Fiji's judiciary and we reject these allegations,” Mr Peters said.

ENDS


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