27 Apr 2006

UN says invitation to monitor Fiji poll came too late

1:56 pm on 27 April 2006

The United Nations will not be sending an elections observer team to Fiji because the invitation from the Fiji government came too late.

The election begins in 9 days.

The European Union, the University of the South Pacific and the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat will all be sending observer teams to the election.

But Johan de Graaf from the United Nations Development Programme in Fiji says their invitation came too late to make the necessary arrangements.

"Normally the process for the decision and subsequent organisation of a mission takes about six months - to get it all organised so to speak, at least six months. What the UN in New York believed that they could not organise the agreement and subsequent organisation of sending an observer team within the time frame that was available."

Johan de Graaf of the United Nations Development Programme.