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SUVA, Fiji Islands (November 20, 1999 – Fiji’s Daily Post)---Queen Elizabeth II plans to visit Fiji in 2001. An invitation was extended to the Queen by Prime Minister Mahendra Chaudhry during an audience with her in Durban, South Africa this week.

"The Queen was very receptive and all that is left now is for me to discuss the issue further with the British High Commissioner, Michael Dibben, here in Suva," Mr. Chaudhry said last night.

Mr. and Mrs. Chaudhry arrived back in the country yesterday after attending the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Durban, South Africa, last week.

The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh were last here in 1983. During that visit, Queen Elizabeth opened the Great Council of Chiefs meeting on Bau Island.

"Yes, I had a private audience with Her Majesty and she still has a very very vivid memory about Fiji," Mr. Chaudhry said.

"She is still attached to Fiji, as she asked about the President, Ratu Sir Kamisese Mara.

"She is likely to be in Canberra, Australia, to open the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in 2001.

"I did say to her that it would be a great honor to us if she could find the time, either before or after CHOGM, to pay us a visit.

Certainly, this invitation has been extended to her and I will try to follow this through with the British High Commissioner here to see whether she will have the time to visit us," Mr. Chaudhry said.

He said the Queen has not been to Fiji for a long time now and it will be good for Fiji to host a visit again.

At a reception hosted by the Queen in Durban this week, Prince Phillip met members of the Fiji delegation and said, "It's time we visit Fiji again."

For additional reports from Fiji’s Daily Post, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Other News Resources/Fiji Live.

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