5 Mar 2007

EU wants talks with Fiji interim administration

11:05 am on 5 March 2007

The European Union wants to have talks with Fiji's interim administration about the political situation in the country and its effects on sugar industry reforms.

The interim minister for finance and sugar industry reform, Mahendra Chaudhry, says they have 30 days to prepare their proposal for the EU.

Mr Chaudhry says three interim ministers have been assigned to have talks with the European Union - the minister for foreign affairs and external trade, Ratu Epeli Nailatikau; the interim attorney general, Aiyaz Sayed-Khayum, and himself.

The European Union had committed 210-million US dollars to the reform of the Fiji sugar industry which has been badly affected by the EU's removal of subsidised prices.

Meanwhile, a spokesperson for the European Commission, Amadeu Altafaj, has been quoted as saying that they will stop development aid if they don't see enough progress on a return to democracy, human rights and media freedom.

Mr Altafaj says if Fiji's responses are not satisfactory, the European Union will take measures to partially or totally suspend its aid to Fiji.