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FIJI TIMES ONLINE
Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd is met at the airport by PNG Deputy PM Dr Puka Temu.


Picture: POST COURIER

FIJI stands to lose out on technical and financial regional assistance if it fails to come up with an election date by May 1.

The special summit of Pacific Island Forum Countries in Port Moresby gave interim Prime Minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama an ultimatum yesterday to hold elections before the end of the year and a date to be set by May 1.

Otherwise Fiji faces suspension from the forum, meaning it will be ineligible for technical and financial initiatives, said Samisoni Pareti, a writer with regional magazine Island Business, who is at the forum.

Mr Pareti said PNG Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare unanimously agreed with the steps taken and would adhere to the forum.

He added that Tuvalu and Kiribati raised concerns on measures agreed to by the forum as it relies heavily on Fiji, but were assured of assistance by forum countries.

The forum also called on the international community to support the outlined measures by taking complementary actions to encourage the prompt restoration of elected constitutional government in Fiji
The meeting lasted four hours with Niue Premier Toke Talagi holding a press conference after the meeting.

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