U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE MEETS MINISTERS IN SAMOA

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Fiji Foreign Minister shows up late

SUVA, Fiji (Fijilive, July 27, 2008) – U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice met Pacific foreign ministers in Samoa today, specifically focusing on the situation in Fiji.

She said she would press Fiji's interim Government to hold elections as promised in March 2009, TVNZ reported.

Rice arrived in Samoa from Auckland for a three-hour stopover where she joined more than a dozen ministers from the Pacific Islands Forum to discuss Fiji, maritime security and climate change, among other issues, said a senior U.S. official.

Fiji's interim Foreign Minister Ratu Epeli Nailatikau arrived late for the meeting at a holiday resort near the airport.

Rice had made clear beforehand that she planned to give him a strong message.

Fijilive has been trying to contact Ratu Epeli but all attempts have been futile.

The Pacific Foreign Ministers met in Fiji a week ago to gauge preparations for the planned general election.

Rice arrived in New Zealand late on Friday. Before her short visit to New Zealand, Rice also visited Singapore and Australia on an eight-day trip.

It was the first visit to Samoa by a U.S. Secretary of State for 20 years.

Rice left Auckland early today with New Zealand Foreign Minister Winston Peters to attend the meeting in Samoa.

During her stay in Auckland, Rice met New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark, Peters and National Party leader John Key.

Fijilive

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