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Qarase and Beddoes offer little comment

SUVA, Fiji (Fijilive, May 3, 2009) – Local politicians have remained quiet over the announcement yesterday by the Pacific Islands Forum that it had suspended Fiji from membership of the regional body.

Former Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase said he had no comment to offer regarding the suspension.

Former opposition leader Mick Beddoes told FijiLive, the suspension was to be expected.

Fiji had been "suspended until further notice" said a statement by Forum chair Toke Talagi.

Fiji’s suspension, according to Talagi’s statement involves suspension of participation by the leader, ministers and officials of Fiji from all Forum meetings and events arranged by the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat, including the annual Pacific Islands Forum Leaders Meeting.

The second measure involves ensuring the government does not benefit directly from Forum regional cooperation initiatives or any new financial or technical assistance, other than assistance toward the restoration of democracy.

Fiji’s Acting PM Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum said the action taken against Fiji "is regrettable".

"It is apparent that despite our Prime Minister writing to the chair highlighting the change in dynamics in Fiji, vis-à-vis the new legal order, the fact that elections cannot and should not be held under an obscured electoral system, and Fiji’s willingness to engage with the Forum taking into account the facts and ground reality, the Forum and its chair has chosen to ignore the circumstances in Fiji and the willingness of our government, the willingness of Fiji to engage in a constructive and meaningful manner," he said.


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