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October 20, 2012 12:00:00 AM
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Fiji’s Prime Minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama has been extended an invitation by his Papua New Guinea counterpart, Peter O’Neill, to attend a special Pacific ACP Leaders meeting in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea next month.

The special meeting follows a PACP leaders meeting in the Cook Islands in August where the Forum reaffirmed its stance to maintain Fiji’s suspension from the group.

Speaking to Fiji media during a visit to the Grand Pacific Hotel construction site today, O’Neill said the meeting which will be attended by the other 16 leaders of the Pacific is to try to re-engage Fiji with the rest of the Pacific outside the Forum process.

The date of the meeting has not been decided yet as O’Neill says he would need to consult the chairman of the Pacific Islands Forum, the Prime Minister of Cook Islands today on a date that is convenient for all Pacific Island leaders.

“All in all the aim is to try and re-engage with Fiji,” O’Neill said.

“Many of Fijians know that PNG is a very strong supporter of Fiji. We are trying to pursue an avenue where Fiji is more engaged with many of our neighbours and I think that is starting to pay some results for us.

“We can see that countries like Australia, New Zealand and other countries in the region are starting to engage with Fiji.”

O’Neill said the sooner Fiji returns to more engagements with the rest of the Pacific “the better it is to everyone.”

The PNG prime minister arrived in Fiji Friday for discussions with Bainimarama with the hope of strengthening bilateral relations between the two countries.

By Lavenia Vuadreu

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