26 Feb 2003

European Union not yet ready to resume full aid payments to Solomons

5:15 pm on 26 February 2003

The European Union says it is assessing the situation in Solomon Islands on a weekly basis, and is yet to decide whether aid funding of 55 million Euros or 400 million Solomon Island dollars will be handed over.

The EU's Anthony Crasner, speaking from Port Moresby, says statements from the Solomon Islands Government that the Stabex funds which have been withheld since 1998, are about to be released, are wrong.

He says seven million Euros from the Stabex fund have been provided for education, including the debts incurred at the University of the South Pacific.

But he says the other money will continue to be withheld until certain pre-conditions are met.

"As soon as there is hard evidence that there is a system of control, that it is becoming more transparent and accountable, and there is significant improvement in the law and order, in the security situation, and the political situation is essentially becoming more stable, and it's possible to plan, then clearly in the situation where there is going to be a great need funds for rehabilitation and reconstruction, then the Stabex funds will become available."