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Fiji Time: 8:02 PM on Friday 18 April

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PM declines Japan invitation to attend meeting

Serelisoni Moceica
Sunday, May 20, 2012

FIJI will not attend the sixth South Pacific Islands Leaders meeting (PALM) in Okinawa, Japan, this month.

A statement sent yesterday by the Ministry of Information said the Prime Minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama was not invited to the meeting.

While thanking Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda for inviting Foreign Minister Ratu Inoke Kubuabola to the meeting, Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama said Fiji would not attend as it "is a meeting of leaders".

Despite this, Commodore Bainimarama said Fiji was committed to promoting high level ties between the two countries, the statement says.

"He invited Japanese Prime Minister to visit Fiji later this year to enhance political and economic ties."

Commodore Bainimarama said Fiji recently engaged with the international community at an unprecedented level.

He said the constitution consultation process towards the 2014 democratic election had started and the government remains focused on implementing the roadmap for democracy and sustainable socio-economic development, the statement said.

He said the government had received the full support of most members of the United Nations for the roadmap.

"With the recent conclusion of the UN Needs Assessment Mission and the visit by the Forum Ministerial Contact Group, we expect to remain fully engaged with and receive the full support of all members of the international community on our way forward to democratic elections based on what is best for Fiji and its people," the Prime Minister said.

"Fiji and Japan have long enjoyed excellent friendship." For our part, we remain steadfast in our commitment to further enhance our ties," the statement said.