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Pacific Forum leaders slam door on Fiji

Last Updated: Thursday, August 6, 2009 - 13:51

Sydney: Leaders gathered in Australia for the annual Pacific Islands Forum on Thursday endorsed Fiji`s suspension from the 16-member grouping and called for concerted action on climate change at the UN-sponsored Copenhagen summit later this year.
Fiji strongman Frank Bainimarama has angered Australia, New Zealand and other forum members by declaring himself interim prime minister, overturning the Constitution and postponing Parliamentary Elections.

"Forum countries are deeply troubled by the continued deterioration in Fiji," Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd said. "Media freedom is being trampled upon, church leaders are being arrested."

Bainimarama has ignored worldwide calls to set a date for elections and is unlikely to be troubled by admonishment from the forum. Another predictable outcome of the 40th meeting of the forum was the call to action on climate change.

"The very viability of certain of the island states is at stake," forum host Rudd said.

"The conversations we`ve had in these last few days have reinforced the absolute urgency of acting on climate change. We cannot simply afford to wait."

Among the 16 forum members Australia and New Zealand are the developed countries that have set targets for reducing the greenhouse gas emissions that cause global warming.

IANS

First Published: Thursday, August 6, 2009 - 13:51

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