Friday, 28 March 2008 3:16 AM

Region to Monitor Fiji's Move towards Elections

A ministerial contact group has been formed to monitor Fiji's moves towards elections following the lack of progress seen so far.

As reported by Radio New Zealand International, foreign ministers at the Pacific Forum meeting in Auckland were prompted to form the group after seeing a lack of progress on Fiji's election timetable.

'The group, consisting of the foreign ministers of Australia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Tonga and Tuvalu, will work more closely with Fiji over plans for an election by next March'.

'The interim Fiji Foreign Minister Ratu Epeli Nailatikau told the meeting his country is committed to an election but delegates have expressed dissatisfaction with the signs of Fiji's commitment'.
Fiji also used the meeting to express their unhappiness with the sanctions put in place by New Zealand and Australia however Australian Foreign Minister, Stephen Smith, 'responded bluntly' saying there would only be changes if Fiji showed "substantial progress towards the holding and conducting of a full free and fair election."