23 May 2018

Sugar on the table of talks between EU and Fiji

3:08 pm on 23 May 2018

Fiji's Prime Minister is urging the European Union to release $US15million for the sugar cane industry as the EU pays a visit to Suva for talks.

A sugar cane field in Fiji.

A sugar cane field in Fiji. Photo: RNZI/ Sally Round

Frank Bainimarama said Fiji was deeply appreciative of past financial assistance granted by the EU helping the Fijian sugar cane industry become more competitive and giving cane farmers easier access to sugar mills by upgrading roads.

But he said there is nearly $US15million in assistance that remains undisbursed and he is hoping to see those funds released this year.

Mr Bainimarama acknowledged Fiji must fulfil civil and political rights, as well as economic, social and cultural rights of its people.

But he told EU representatives at a meeting today Fiji's development partners need to be understanding and give his government assistance and space.

The European Union has withheld sugar funding for Fiji since sanctions were imposed after the Fiji regime reneged on a promise made to Brussels following the 2006 military coup.