FIJI DROPS OUT OF FORUM WORKING GROUP

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Bainimarama critical of Australia and New Zealand

SUVA, Fiji (Fijilive, June 23, 2008) – Fiji has pulled out of talks with the Forum Working Group that’s working towards taking the country to a planned general election.

This has been confirmed to Fijilive by Interim Prime Minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama.

‘‘I have decided that Fiji will no longer participate in the Forum Working Group meetings until such time the positions of Australia and New Zealand are genuine," he said.

"I have written to Forum chairman (Tonga’s Prime Minister Dr Fred Sevele) to inform him of Fiji’s stance."

The move comes as Forum Working Group chairman and Papua New Guinea High Commissioner to Fiji, Peter Eafare, called for Fiji to stay engaged in dialogue.

Bainimarama was also scathing of comments by New Zealand Foreign Minister Winston Peters that Wellington would not accept a military-dominated government in Fiji.

"They (NZ) haven’t done anything to assist us and they have no appreciation for what the Government is doing to move Fiji forward," he said.

"They should have told us from the beginning that they wouldn’t have anything to do with a military-dominated administration so that we wouldn’t have wasted our time talking to the Kiwis and Australians.

"It shows the way they treat us.

"They don’t appreciate the interim Government’s initiatives and that shows they are not genuine and honest about moving Fiji forward."

Fijilive: http://www.fijilive.com

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