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John Key firm on Fiji expulsion

Published: 11:18PM Monday July 13, 2009 Source: NZPA

Prime Minister John Key said there had been a unanimous decision to expel Fiji from the Pacific Forum, despite several nations recently breaking from the consensus and announcing their support for the military regime.

Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu, members of the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG), said on Monday morning self-appointed interim Prime Minister Commodore Frank Bainimarama had "won their support for lifting the suspension", the Solomon Times Online reported.

PNG Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare said he was convinced some of Bainimarama's plans were good for Fiji.

Leaders from the MSG said they would take Fiji's case to their peers at the Pacific Islands Forum in Cairns, Australia next month.

Key said there was a desire to see a solution in Fiji by all those who has reached the unanimous decision to expel it.

"All 16 countries in the forum want to see a solution, but the question is what that solution will be."

Bainimarama had not engaged in dialogue with the other political stakeholders, Key told reporters.

"From New Zealand's point of view, it's not just a conclusion or an outcome we want to see, it's an enduring outcome.

"But I don't think there's any desire to revisit the decision we made which was to suspend Fiji from the Pacific Forum," Key said.