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Visit from European Members of Parliament

Outcome of Visit from European Members of Parliament

From 28 November to 1 December, 2008, a delegation from the European Parliament’s Committee on Development visited the Republic of the Fiji Islands on a fact-finding mission. The delegation was led by a Member of the European Parliament (MEP), Mrs Gabriele Zimmer (Germany). The other members of the Delegation were a Vice-President of the European Parliament, Mr Adam Bielan (Poland) and MEPs Mr Ryszard Czarnecki (Poland) and Mr Bernard Lehideux (France).

During its stay, the delegation met a wide range of stakeholders from the interim Government, the political sector as well as from different parts of the economy, the judiciary and civil society in order to obtain as precise a picture as possible of the political and socio-economic situation of the country. The delegation also visited projects funded by the European Union, namely, in the education sector.

The delegation of the European Parliament’s Development Committee recalls the position of the European Parliament which is to condemn the takeover of power from the democratically elected government of Fiji by the Fijian military and to strongly oppose any action that undermines the democratic process in Fiji.

The delegation notes that it has now been two years since the military seized power and the interim Government was set-up; and that the commitment of the interim Government to enable free and fair elections within 24 months as of 1 March, 2007 is likely to be honoured.

Unfortunately, the delegation could not confirm that credible and timely preparations for elections are underway. This is a condition for the resumption of financial support from the European Union to the Fijian economy.

The delegation condemns any threats or restrictions targeting individuals or organisations seeking to exercise their right to freedom of expression.

The delegation urges that parliamentary elections take place before the end of 2009 based on a political dialogue process involving all stakeholders and conducted without delay.

ENDS

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