The Pacific Islands Forum announced its decision to lift the ban imposed on the Republic of Fiji and welcomed the country back in to its fold after more than five years of ban.
The Forum, which ironically has its Headquarters and Secretariat in the Fijian Capital of Suva, had followed the path of the Commonwealth, which had suspended Fiji from its membership following the military coup staged by Josaia Voreqe Bainimarama on December 5, 2006. Following the General Election on September 17 and the ‘clean chit’ given by a Committee of Observers sent from Europe, The Commonwealth lifted its ban and Fiji has since then rejoined the 53-member independent nations.
President of the Republic of Palau Tommy Remengesau Jr, who chairs the Pacific Islands Forum announced the lifting of the ban on October 22.
His letter to Mr Bainimarama was delivered through the Forum Secretariat.
Remengesau Jr said that the Forum leaders were unanimous in their decision to lift Fiji’s suspension from the forum based on a recommendation to leaders by the Forum Ministerial Contact Group (MCG) on Fiji.
“The leaders had earlier requested the MCG to make a recommendation to them following the General Election in Fiji regarding its readmission to the forum based on an assessment of the report of the Multinational Observer Group and any other factors that the MCG wishes to take into account,” he said.
Mr Remengesau Jr said that the leaders looked forward to Fiji’s participation and contribution in all Forum activities.
“I offer again our warm congratulations to the newly elected Government of Prime Minister Bainimarama and commend the people of Fiji for their full participation in the historic election of their leaders and representatives, culminating in results that reflect the will and mandate of the Fijian people.,” he said.
Acting Secretary General Andie Fong welcomed the decision and congratulated the Government and people of Fiji for the successful conduct and results of their national election.
“We look forward to Fiji resuming its participation in forum activities,” he said.