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Fiji seeks talks with Commonwealth on suspension

Fiji seeks talks with Commonwealth on suspension

Fiji's military government is seeking talks with the Commonwealth in a last-ditch bid to avoid being expelled from the 53-nation grouping, the foreign minister said Thursday, although he gave no sign of compromising on the key issue of restoring democracy.
Armed forces chief and Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama initially invited the Commonwealth to send a special envoy for talks this week aimed at keeping the South Pacific country in the organization of Britain and its former colonies, but the two sides could not agree on a date.
Foreign Minister Ratu Jone Kubuabola said Thursday that the government now hopes an envoy can visit next week, the Fijilive news Web site reported. Kubuabola gave no indication that Fiji had offered anything new that might avoid a suspension.
There was no immediate response from the Commonwealth.
Early this month the Commonwealth gave Fiji until Sept. 1 to announce a timetable for an early return to democratic government or be cut off from all aid from the group and banned from the 2010 Commonwealth Games.
Bainimarama, who ousted the elected government in a 2006 coup, has repeatedly said he will not call elections before 2014 so he can first fundamentally reform the country's electoral system and root out what he called endemic corruption.
Fiji has suffered four coups since 1987, prompting international sanctions each time and suspension from the Commonwealth twice.


Updated : 2021-03-02 03:13 GMT+08:00