1 Oct 2010

US seeks to lock in 2014 Fiji election date

9:54 am on 1 October 2010

The United States says it wants to ensure that Fiji's interim Government keeps to its commitment to hold elections by 2014.

The assistant secretary of state for East Asia, Kurt Campbell, says the US is willing to restore relations but wants to see a return to democracy.

Don Wiseman has more:

"Mr Campbell has told Congress this would offer Fiji a chance for international acceptance while reinforcing the message that any easing of sanctions is tied to the restoration of democracy. The sanctions were imposed immediately after the coup in 2006 in an effort to hasten new elections but the interim regime backed out of a commitment to return to democracy by March of last year. It set a new date of 2014 and Mr Campbell says the US objective is to put Fiji on track for reintegration into international institutions and for the holding free and fair elections no later than 2014. He was questioned by American Samoa's US Congressman Faleomavaega Eni Hunkin, who says US engagement in Fiji is absolutely essential. Faleomavaega says it's clear the Australian and New Zealand policies of sanctions have not only failed but been totally counterproductive."