4 Jul 2008

Commonwealth and EU envoys stress independence in Fiji talks

6:40 pm on 4 July 2008

The two representatives who have been meeting Fijian political leaders and officially inviting them to a political forum, now scheduled for the end of August, to discuss electoral reforms, have stressed their independence.

Commonwealth envoy Sir Paul Reeves and European Union political advisor Albert Mariner ended three days of meeting Friday morning.

Sir Paul Reeves says the are independent and not responsible to the NCBBF or directly responsible to the interim government.

He says their independence is a gift that they offer Fiji.

Mr Mariner echoed Sir Paul's sentiments, saying his role was more in the formulation of the terms Of reference.

The joint United Nations and Commonwealth Secretariat exercise, monitored by the European Union, hopes to develop a terms of reference for a forum on the review of Fiji's electoral system with hopes of elections in March 2009.

Sir Paul admitted he could have also met with women and/or church groups but he believes beginning talks with political leaders was a start.

Sir Paul said political leaders he met had expressed their wish that the forum discuss other issues apart from the electoral reforms itself.