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Pacific summit to go ahead after postponement annulled

A summit of Pacific leaders called to decide on whether to suspend Fiji's membership will go ahead next week after a decision to postpone the meeting was overturned.

world Updated: Jan 24, 2009 14:37 IST

A summit of Pacific leaders called to decide on whether to suspend Fiji's membership will go ahead next week after a decision to postpone the meeting was overturned, officials said on saturday.

Host nation Papua New Guinea announced on Friday that the Pacific Island Forum (PIF) summit had been postponed until February.

But the decision was reversed overnight by chairing nation Niue.

PNG Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare said on Saturday he had delayed the meeting to allow self appointed Fijian leader Voreqe Bainimarama to attend.

But his spokeswoman told AFP on Saturday that the forum "is going ahead on the 27th".

"The interim prime minister (of Fiji) had asked for deferment but the chair has decided that it will go ahead," she said.

Bainimarama had said he would not attend because he needed to deal with the recent flooding crisis in his country.

Pacific leaders, some of whom were already on their way to the PNG capital of Port Moresby, were reportedly upset by Somare's move to postpone the meeting without consultation.

"We have an equal right to say and to decide, Papua New Guinea can't take it upon itself to make that decision for us," Cook Islands Foreign Minister Wilkie Rasmussen told Television New Zealand.

Somare's spokeswoman said the postponement had been reversed because some nations felt there had been insufficient notice.