19 Sep 2008

Pacific and EU say an enhanced political dialogue will improve interaction

1:53 pm on 19 September 2008

A meeting between Pacific Islands Forum leaders and European Union officials in Brussels this week has led to an agreement to launch an enhanced political dialogue between the two entities.

This is to reflect a growing relationship and enable a structured interaction between them.

In a communique following the meeting both parties reaffirmed the importance of the Fiji interim Government honouring its undertaking to return Fiji to democracy by early next year.

They also reaffirmed the readiness of the Forum and the EU to assist Fiji to prepare for that election.

They called on the interim Government to maintain respect for human rights and the rule of law, and say a political dialogue process could assist in developing understanding among key stakeholders.

Both the Forum countries and the EU say they are committed to building a long term partnership and concluding Economic Partnership Agreements by the end of this year.

They say these will foster regional integration and be fully supportive of the developmental aspirations of the Pacific members of the African Caribbean and Pacific group of nations..

It was stressed at the meeting that Pacific states had to get a fair portion of the EU's aid-for-trade assistance which is due to reach two billion euros by 2010.