2 May 2012

NZ Foreign Minister encouraged by transit phase in Fiji

10:33 am on 2 May 2012

New Zealand's Foreign Minister says Fiji is in a transition phase in which freedom of speech and assembly is beginning to be observed by the interim government.

Murray McCully says he's encouraged by the signs he's seen during the Pacific Islands Forum ministerial team's one-day visit.

In its first visit to Fiji in four years, the Ministerial Contact Group was assured by the regime that processes under way will lead to elections by late 2014.

Mr McCully says they were also told that constitutional consultations will be open to all and there will be no media restrictions.

"And a number of the people we spoke to, they were quite open about the fact that they are moving through some stages now that will see these freedoms observed increasingly. We've taken heart from that and we have responded by indicating that if that indeed happens, as has been promised, we would feel obliged to say to our leaders, these are very good steps that would need to be rewarded."

Murray McCully.