16 Dec 2006

Fiji's Roman Catholic Archbishop calls for sanctions to be lifted

9:31 am on 16 December 2006

The head of the Roman Catholic Church in Fiji has called on the international community to lift their sanctions or put on hold their intention of imposing them.

Archbishop Petero Mataca says experience in many parts of the world shows that a high percentage of so-called smart sanctions do not really work or achieve their purpose.

Instead, they strengthen the resolve of the people concerned to continue with the direction they have taken and only hurt the poor and the low income earners.

He points out that New Zealand did not impose sanctions on Thailand after the military coup there, or on the United States for its illegal invasion of Iraq.

Archbishop Mataca has also called on Australia, the European Union and the United Nations not to suspend current bilateral aid arrangements, impose trade or economic sanctions on Fiji or suspend Fiji troops from UN peacekeeping operations.

Archbishop Mataca says these countries should continue with their normal trade and aid arrangements.

He says this will show genuine understanding and sincerity on their part which will encourage Fiji's leaders to reciprocate with a new resolve to urgently seek a constitutional solution to its problems.