19 Nov 2003

EU restores aid to Fiji

7:20 am on 19 November 2003

The European Union has restored full aid to Fiji and released 25 million US dollars held up since the May 2000 coup.

The EU's Fiji representative, Frans Baan, says the Brussels decision follows the Supreme Court ruling on the multi party cabinet and the Fiji Government's invitation to the Labour Party to join the Cabinet.

Mr Baan says this has fulfilled the letter of the law and the conditions that the EU had attached to the 25 million US dollars which will go towards primary education in rural areas and vocational training.

The EU will continue to monitor the situation in Fiji.

But the opposition leader, Mick Beddoes, has expressed serious reservations about the EU decision, saying it is premature.

Meanwhile, other EU aid is continuing to fund major projects in Fiji.

This includes the construction from early next year of the new Rewa Bridge to replace the current one which has again suffered structural damage and is currently restricted to one lane of light traffic.