#header-inner img {margin: 0 auto !important; #header-inner {text-align: Center ;} Fiji Coupfourpointfive: Spearhead group cancels Fiji summit

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Spearhead group cancels Fiji summit

Fiji's Melanesian allies have pulled the plug on the planned leaders' summit in Suva because of the interim government's failure to move on democratic reform, isolating the junta even further.

The summit was to have been held next week and was Voreqe Bainimarama's answer to being suspended from the Commonwealth and the 16-nation Pacific Islands Forum.

In recent months, the regime had worked to keep the support of its Melanesian allies and convince countries such as Samoa to attend the rival summit.

However, its uncompromising attitude to returning democracy to Fiji and to go ahead with the controversial media decree has cost it support.

The regime has today also announced it is sending Australia's acting high commissioner, Sarah Roberts, home. 

The Melanesian Spearhead Group says the cancellation was a "collective decision". He urged Bainimarama to attend talks in Port Vila to discuss the matter.

In a statement, the current MSG chairman, Vanuatu's prime minister Edward Natapei, said: "There are basic fundamental principles and values of democracy and good governance that our organisation is built on and we must continue to uphold them.

"This is a collective decision of the leaders ... in light of the current impasse within the grouping over the chairmanship of the MSG."

Natapei's statement was issued over the weekend and contrasts sharply with MSG's communique last year when it backed Fiji's government and its "roadmap" towards democracy.

The statement said Fiji's preparations for the talks were at an advanced stage, but added the "potential long-term ramifications of allowing Fiji to chair the MGS this time cannot be ignored".

"I have also advised Commodore Bainimarama of our decision and invited him to attend a special meeting of the MSG leaders here in Vanuatu to resolve this matter."

Picture: Natapei says decision to cancel summit was a collective one.

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