INDIA NOW LIKELY TO SUPPORT FIJI'S COMMONWEALTH BID

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SUVA, Fiji (September 4, 1997 - PACNEWS)---India now is likely to support Fiji's bid to re-enter the Commonwealth, following talks this week between Fiji's opposition leader, Jai Ram Reddy, and Indian Prime Minister Inder Kumar Gujral in New Delhi.

An Indian External Affairs Ministry official said the talks were very "positive."

Reddy flew to India last week to brief Indian leaders about recent constitutional developments in Fiji, which restore political rights to Fijians of Indian ethnicity, and also to lobby in support of Fiji's bid to resume membership in the Commonwealth, which it let lapse following the military coups of 1987.

British constitutional experts and the governments of Australia and New Zealand have already announced they support Fiji's bid.

Neighboring island countries also have written to Prime Minister Sitiveni Rabuka to inform him of their support. The latest positive vote came from Papua New Guinea.

A decision regarding Fiji's Commonwealth bid is expected to be made next month during a meeting of Commonwealth leaders in Scotland.

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