Jane Patterson, Parliamentary Chief Reporter
New Zealand and Australia have lifted all travel sanctions against Fiji.
The travel ban against certain members of the governing regime and military has gradually been relaxed since the December 2006 military coup.
New Zealand and Australia now say it has been lifted completely, in recognition of the progress Fiji is making towards free and fair elections on 17 September this year.
Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully said more than 500,000 people had registered to vote, electoral commissioners had been appointed and Frank Bainimarama, who led the coup, had stepped down as the head of the military.
As a result, all restrictions on New Zealand government departments working directly with their counterparts in Fiji had been lifted, along with the travel ban.
All was not perfect in Fiji, but the New Zealand Government believed it was more constructive to provide assistance as Fiji prepared for the election in September, Mr McCully said.
"No one is pretending the position in Fiji is perfect. I think it's a significant step forward that we've got an election date being established, framework for elections, political parties registered. The question is, how do we best reinforce that progress, and that's the judgement we've made."
Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said the decision followed a review of Australia's travel sanctions, which was announced during her visit to Fiji in February.
The restrictions had applied to the Prime Minister, ministers, military personnel and their family members, government appointees and the judiciary.
The decision was in line with the Australian government's policy of re-engagement and normalisation of bilateral relations with Fiji, Ms Bishop said.
Australia would work with the Fijian government and other donors to support election preparations, she said.
The Fijian Government said in a statement it pleased with the decision to lift the sanctions, which it described as ill-conceived and designed to discourage talented and qualified individuals from serving the Fijian people.
It said it looked forward to working with New Zealand and Australia on a number of areas of shared interest.