18 Apr 2007

European Union tells Fiji delegation elections should be held within 18 to 24 months

7:51 am on 18 April 2007

The European Union has indicated that it wants Fiji to hold elections within 18 to 24 months along the lines recommended by the Eminent Persons Group set up by the Pacific Forum.

The EU's director general for development and humanitarian assistance conveyed the message to the Fiji ministerial delegation currently in Brussels for talks on EU aid for Fiji.

The delegation comprises Fiji's interim minister for foreign affairs, Ratu Epeli Nailatikau, the interim finance minister, Mahendra Chaudhry, and the interim attorney general, Aiyaz Sayed-Khayum.

A statement from the Fiji Prime Minister's Office says Ratu Epeli Nailatikau has welcomed the forthrightness of the European Union position.

Ratu Epeli says the interim administration through the Pacific Forum - Fiji Islands Joint Working Group has agreed to an independent assessment of Fiji's 3-year timeline for general elections.

Formal consultations on whether EU aid to Fiji worth over 206-million US dollars will resume will begin in Brussels later today.