Key: Fiji ban shows suspension hurts

By Kate Chapman

CAIRNS - Fiji's ban on any news from the Pacific Islands Forum shows its suspension from the forum is "hurting", Prime Minister John Key says.

Forum members meeting in Cairns were keen to get the issue of Fiji out of the way and get onto what they believed to the bigger issues.

Fiji was also keen to be left out of discussions. The Fijian Government has issued a blanket ban on all news stories relating to the forum.

Mr Key said the ban was "disappointing" and showed suspension from the forum was "hurting" Fiji.

"(Self-appointed Fijian Prime Minister Commodore) Frank Bainimarama doesn't want those messages out there that Fiji is being excluded and that's just an extension of a regime that I don't think is good for the people of Fiji.

"It's just business as usual for Bainimarama."

Mr Key said the people of Fiji knew the "significance" of the forum.

Cdre Bainimarama's latest ban would probably not achieve much, "but I don't think he'd care".

"I think he's giving up on the forum because we've shown to him we'll be resolute in our position, and there's no breaking ranks from any Pacific leader."

Yesterday, Nuie Premier Toke Talagi called on the citizens of Fiji to "rise up to challenge the undemocratic rule to the military regime and restore democracy".

Fijians must accept some responsibility and he "would wonder sometimes whether people realise you can't shoot 500,000 Fijians", he said.

New Zealand did not support an uprising in Fiji and wanted a peaceful resolution, Mr Key said.

"The reality is you can't have a good coup and a bad coup.

"We have encouraged Frank Bainimarama to engage with former leaders in Fiji...and we think that's the right course of action, not some sort of uprising of the people against the military coup."

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