#header-inner img {margin: 0 auto !important; #header-inner {text-align: Center ;} Fiji Coupfourpointfive: Sanctions may sour sugar aid

Monday, May 4, 2009

Sanctions may sour sugar aid

Fiji faces economic sanctions from international bodies such as the European Union, which provides $70 million a year in sugar subsidies, after it was suspended from the Pacific Islands Forum.

The suspension, imposed after Fiji failed to schedule elections for this year, is the strongest action the Pacific forum has taken in its 38 years.

New Zealand Foreign Minister Murray McCully said he expected other bodies, including the 53-nation British Commonwealth, the EU and the UN to follow the forum's lead and isolate Fiji further.

European commissioner Louis Michel said after Frank Bainimarama abrogated Fiji's constitution last month that if the Fiji Government honoured a pledge to hold elections this year, the EU would continue to provide financial support to rescue the sugar sector and help restore the national economy "at a time when global economic prospects are becoming increasingly difficult".

But Mr Michel said recent developments in Fiji were unacceptable. "Commitments must be respected," he said.

The British Commonwealth has formed a ministerial action group on Fiji, which in March gave the Pacific nation a six-month deadline to restore democracy or face full suspension of its membership. This appears certain to be triggered at the group's next meeting, in London in September.

Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, the Acting Prime Minister, responded to the suspension by stressing Fiji's bilateral relations, saying Sri Lanka's high commissioner to Canberra had recently flown to Suva to present his credentials there.

Mr Sayed-Khiayum - who is also Minister for Justice, Electoral Reform, Public Enterprises, Anti-Corruption, Tourism, Trade and Communications - said at the weekend "no suspension can sever" Fiji's "ties with our brothers and sisters in the Pacific".

The Fiji regime, which is extending its emergency regulations, hopes China will put a floor under its sinking economy - The Australian

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