25 Sep 2009

EU maintains sanctions against Fiji

1:34 pm on 25 September 2009

Millions of dollars in development aid for Fiji will remain frozen with the European Union deciding to extend aid and trade sanctions by a further six months to the end of March 2010.

The Charge d'Affaires of the European Commission delegation to New Zealand, George Cunningham, says it is hoped the delay will allow more time for new consultations with the Fiji interim government and assist with a return to democracy.

"Because of the commitments that Fiji made to the EU that did not come about, and that further regressive developments that have taken place such as the abrogation of the constitution, human rights violations, and further substantial delay in holding elections. So we are very regretful that this had to be taken."

Mr Cunningham says development aid and EU funding to help Fiji's ailing sugar industry worth several million dollars will be affected but humanitarian aid and direct support to civil society will not be broken.

The European Union says it is aiming for credible commitment to progress from the Fiji interim government but does not rule out further cuts to development funding if the situation in Fiji does not improve.