Monday, 3 August 2009 4:59 PM

Commonwealth Gives Fiji Deadline

The Commonwealth has given Fiji until September this year to announce a 2010 election or it will be suspended fully from the Commonwealth.

According to Fijilive, at a meeting of the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group (CMAG) in London last week, 'seven Commonwealth ministers agreed to re-issue the September 1 deadline the group had issued in March this year.'

Radio New Zealand International (RNZI) reports that after nearly seven hours of talks, ministers emerged with a communique that threatened Fiji with full suspension from all parts of the Commonwealth.

RNZI reported Papua New Guinea's Foreign Minister Sam Abal who was part of the meeting said he agreed with the other ministers, and urged Fiji to engage with the process of democracy.

There had been some signs that the CMAG would agree to suspend Fiji immediately, but the nine-member group has to agree by consensus, meaning any one country can block a decision.

Informed sources said the ministerial group was split down the middle, with countries including New Zealand in favour of suspension, but others including Malaysia, which chairs the CMAG, against.
The CMAG agreed at the March meeting that in the meantime Fiji should remain suspended only from the Councils of the Commonwealth pending the threatened full suspension if the September deadline was not met. Which means Fiji continues to be suspended from ministerial meetings of the Commonwealth until a decision is made in September.


(Fijilive)

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