Friday, October 10, 2008

Return to democracy, US tells Fiji

Return to democracy, US tells Fiji
http://www.fijilive.com/ - 10/10/2008


The US Government has reiterated its stand for Fiji to return to democratic rule as soon as possible. Following Thursday’s landmark ruling that dismissed ousted Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase’s case questioning the legality of the 2006 coup, the Bush Administration says aid suspension to Fiji will remain.It said the High Court’s decision will not affect the bilateral relationship between Fiji and the US. In a statement, the US said the suspension of certain US assistance to the Fiji government under section 508 of the foreign operations appropriations act will remain in place, until the President or Secretary of State determines that Fiji has made measurable progress toward the restoration of democratic rule.It added that although the US government will continue to have diplomatic relations with Fiji, an improved engagement will only be possible when a democratically elected government is restored. The statement further says since the December 2006 coup in Fiji they have continued to strongly urge the interim government to take immediate steps to restore full civil liberties and the rule of law based on democratic principles, and to hold free and fair elections.


PM determined to avoid democracy: Aust
10/10/2008

Australia's Foreign Affairs minister Stephen Smith says Fiji's interim leader, Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama appears determined to avoid a return to democratic rule.This follows Thursday’s High Court ruling which dismissed ousted Prime Minister, Laisenia Qarase’s case who questioned the legality of the 2006 military takeover.The three-member panel of judges led by acting Chief Justice Anthony Gates upheld that the President Ratu Josefa Iloilo acted honestly, impartially, neutrally and in what he gauged was in the best interest of the nation following the December 2006 coup.Smith however said despite the fact that Qarase may appeal the ruling, it doesn't change the fact that Bainimarama is backing away from promises he made."That doesn't disturb the fundamental point, which is Commodore Bainimarama gave a faithful undertaking to the Pacific Island leaders, at the Pacific Island Forum in Tonga in October 2007 that he would have an election by the end of March of next year.“… and regrettably he seems to be persisting in a view that he won't be holding that election," Smith told Radio Australia.


Court Ruling Will Not Affect Relationship
www.fijilive.com - 10/10/2008

The US government said the suspension of certain US assistance to the Fiji government will remain in place until the President or Secretary of State determines that Fiji has made measurable progress towards the restoration of democratic rule.In a statement released reacting to the High Court judgement delivered yesterday, the US Embassy said enhanced engagement will only be possible when a democratically elected government is restored. However, it also stated that the decision by the High Court will not affect the bilateral relationship between Fiji and the US.Outgoing President Bush reiterated that the US stands ready to help in efforts to restore democracy to the country.Meanwhile, Australian Foreign Minister Stephen Smith said despite the understanding that ousted Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase may appeal the High Court ruling announced yesterday, it doesn't change the fact that Fiji's Interim Prime Minister Commodore Frank Bainimarama is backing away from promises he made.The New Zealand government has not yet reacted to the High Court ruling.

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