Rudd says Fiji's Bainimarama 'chickened out' of forum
Frank Bainimarama decided not to attend the summit. (Reuters: Tim Wimborne)
Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has accused Fiji's self-declared interim Prime Minister, Frank Bainimarama, of chickening out of this year's Pacific Islands Forum being held in Niue.
Fiji's military-led Government has broken a promise to hold elections by March next year and Mr Rudd says Commodore Bainimarama made a grave error by not coming to the summit.
Mr Rudd does not believe the Commodore has any support from other Pacific countries attending the summit.
"A person of substance would have presented himself to his fellow leaders among the Pacific Island countries to account for the undertaking he gave to them," Mr Rudd said said.
"What he has done is chicken out of that and I don't think that the leaders across the region will respond to that positively."
Mr Rudd says Pacific leaders must apply pressure on Commodore Bainimarama's regime.
"The challenge for Pacific countries is to have a united front on the question of Fiji and to apply maximum political and diplomatic leverage on Bainimarama's regime," Mr Rudd said.
"I use the word 'regime' because it's not a democratically elected government and we're not accustomed not to have democratically elected governments."