25 Sep 2009

Fiji regime urged to rethink its stance as EU sanctions continue

5:47 pm on 25 September 2009

The interim Fiji regime is being urged to rethink its delay in returning to democracy, following a six-month extension of trade sanctions by the European Union.

The EU says millions of dollars in development aid will remain frozen until the end of March 2010.

The head of the school of economics at the University of the South Pacific, Professor Wadan Narsey, says the decision blocks access to millions of dollars earmarked by the EU for the restructure of the sugar industry and for other schemes to improve Fiji's economy.

Professor Narsey says the latest decision signals growing international concern about the lack of progress towards a return to democracy.

"For the European Union to say that they are going to continue with these sanctions for another six months ought to be taken very seriously by this military government that they have got to rethink their strategy forward. It cannot be business as usual."

Professor Narsey says poverty in the rural areas of Fiji is clearly increasing, but the people are stopped from voicing their discontent about what is happening.