8 Mar 2007

EU says threatening Fiji with sanctions is difficult but sometimes there is no option

4:20 pm on 8 March 2007

The European Union says imposing aid sanctions is always a difficult call but in some circumstances it has no choice.

The EU is threatening to withdraw about 260 million US dollars of aid to Fiji over the December coup.

Fiji's interim Finance minister, its foreign minister and attorney general are to meet European Union representatives in Brussels in three weeks to discuss the situation in the country.

The EU says it has made it clear it is strongly opposed to the undermining of democracy in Fiji.

The EU's Suva-based counsellor for trade and economic integration, Myfanwy van de Velde, says imposing sanctions is not an easy decision.

"We would not wish to hurt those who are most needy but at the same time we have to demonstrate that we uphold the principles of good governance."

Myfanwy van de Velde says no date has been set for the consultations.

The European Union suspended aid to Fiji in 2000 following the last coup and it did not lift that fully till 2003.