Murray McCully and Bob Carr at today's stand up.
The Ministerial Contact Group has wrapped up its visit with the chair, New Zealand’s Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully, saying it was short but useful.
McCully says the regime has assured the group elections are on the way along with the public consultation process for a new constitution.
He says the acting prime minister Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum and several officials have also assured them the process will be inclusive, fair and open.
McCully says it was a 'very worthwhile visit because we haven't had one to Suva in three years and it has been useful to talk to people on the ground.'
"We have had an exhausted series of discussions with the people involved in the administration, critics of the administration and what we have tried to install in the space of one day.
"This visit is a snapshot of where things are today and to take account of the old statements made about where things will be in a few months."
McCully says the group will continue to keep an eye on developments and will want to be satisfied the regime follows through with its assertions.
He says that expectation has been written into its communique.
1st May 2012
1. The Pacific Islands Forum Ministerial Contact Group (MCG) concluded its visit to Fiji today.
2. The MCG thanked Fiji for making officials available for meetings. The MCG considered the exchanges and briefing useful for bringing them up to date on developments in Fiji.
3. The MCG also met with Fijian politicians and representatives of civil society and unions, and welcomed their perspectives which have contributed to the MCG’s understanding of the situation in Fiji. Written submissions were also received.
4. Ministers said they were encouraged by the steps taken by Fiji on election planning, as well as by information provided about Fiji’s intentions. These gave Ministers a sense that Fiji was a country in transition, moving to put in place processes required for elections. In particular, the MCG welcomed assurances from Fiji that:
The process under way will lead to elections by September 2014;
The constitutional consultation process will be open to all;
There will be no media restrictions in relation to the constitutional consultation process;
The elections will be free and fair;
There will be no parliamentary seats reserved for the military.
5. The public consultation process leading to the establishment of a new constitution will be closely observed by the international community. The interim Acting Prime Minister and several officials have asserted it will be inclusive, fair and open. The MCG believes the process must be accompanied by freedom of association, freedom of speech and freedom for media. This would allow Ministers to consider recommending to Leaders that incremental steps be taken to allow Fiji to participate in some Forum meetings.
6. Ministers reaffirmed Forum Leaders’ long standing offer to support Fiji’s early return to parliamentary democracy, including through the provision of appropriate assistance, consistent with the Forum’s underlying principles and values for respect for democracy, good governance and the rule of law.
7. The MCG will provide a report to Forum Leaders in the coming weeks on the positive progress Fiji has made and the further important steps they believe are required. Based on their continuing engagement, the MCG Ministers will provide a further update to Leaders at the time of their meeting in Rarotonga.
8. Ministers affirm the Forum’s intention to remain engaged and look forward to further progress in Fiji and continued constructive dialogue with Fiji.
9. Participants in the MCG visit were Hon. Murray McCully, Minister of Foreign Affairs of New Zealand, Senator the Hon. Bob Carr, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Australia, Hon. Ano Pala, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Immigration of Papua New Guinea, Hon. Fiame Naomi Mata’afa, Minister of Justice of Samoa, Hon. Apisai Ielemia, Minister for Foreign Affairs, Trade, Tourism, Environment and Labour of Tuvalu and Hon. Alfred Carlot, Minister of Foreign Affairs.