Saturday, July 11, 2009
Bainimarama wins over Melanesian countries
By Sean Dorney in Port Vila
The leaders of Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu have given their full backing to an attempt to have Fiji's suspension from the Pacific Islands Forum lifted.
Fiji's military leader Frank Bainimarama secured their support at a meeting in Port Vila.
At a news conference the chairman of the group, Vanuatu's Prime Minister Edward Natapei, said the leaders praised Commodore Bainimarama's strategic framework for change for Fiji as reflecting a clear vision to achieve sustainable democracy.
That strategic framework would see Commodore Bainimarama stay in power for at least another five years without elections.
Papua New Guinea's Prime Minister, Sir Michael Somare (pictured above), said he had been convinced that some of Commodore Bainimarama's plans were good for Fiji.
The Melanesian countries say they will take Fiji's case for withdrawing its suspension from the Pacific Islands Forum to next month's leaders' meeting in Cairns.