25 Jan 2007

European Commission says Fiji human rights abuses must stop

3:16 pm on 25 January 2007

The European Commission says human rights abuses in Fiji must stop immediately.

Roberto Ridolfi, head of the European Commission delegation for the Pacific, expects talks with the authorities in Suva to start in February, even though the EU does not recognise the interim government.

He say the EU is bound by an earlier agreement to talk to whoever is in charge.

"We do condemn the military coup, we do recommend an immediate return back to fully democractic functioning of this country, we do recognise that at this moment in time there are problems in terms of human rights abuses and these must stop immediately. But we are bound to start a consultation process with the authorities of Fiji."

Mr Ridolfi warned that the whole of the EU's aid programme to Fiji will be at stake in the talks.