31 Jul 2009

US sanctions against Fiji to continue until democracy returned says top US official

1:25 pm on 31 July 2009

A top United States official says sanctions against Fiji will continue until the interim government returns the country to democracy.

The comment, from the US Department of State's director for Australia, New Zealand and Pacific Island Affairs, comes just after the announcement of the retirement of Fiji's President and while Methodist clergy continue to be prosecuted.

Alcy Frelick says although there are other pressing issues in the Pacific the most troubling political issue is the situation in Fiji.

She says the US wants to see Fiji take credible steps towards democracy.

"We'd be looking at things like freedom of the press, freedom of assembly, the restoration of an independent judiciary, credible steps towards dialogue with the people so that they can, so their voices would be heard. I think that the roadmap for 2014 is not as ambitious as we would like to see. We'd like to see the dialogue and the movement begin earlier than that"

Alcy Frelick of the US Department of State.