Monday, November 23, 2009

EU hopeful of formal consultations with Fiji

The European Union said yesterday it was hopeful that talks in Brussels with Fiji’s Prime Minister Commodore Voreqe this week would lead to formal consultations between Fiji and the EU under the Cotonou Agreement.

The meeting was the first following the EU Council's decision of September 24 regarding political relations and financial cooperation between the EU and Fiji.

“The fulfilment of mutual obligations is a fundamental principle of the Cotonou Agreement as is the pivotal role of dialogue,” said an EU statement.

The statement said the meeting covered the essential elements of the Cotonou Agreement “which are human rights, democratic principles and the rule of law. As an ACP country and party to the Cotonou Agreement Fiji is committed to the essential elements of the Cotonou Agreement. However, following the events in December 2006 Fiji is for the time being in breach of them”.

“This situation was discussed together with the prospects for progress and a number of matters were raised, notably the government's initiative concerning a National Dialogue Forum, freedom of expression and more generally the government's planned reform programs, as well as matters pertaining to the 1997 Constitution.”

The statement said the meeting was a valuable exchange of information and of views.

“It was cordial and constructive and hopefully inaugurates a process, which could lead to formal consultations between Fiji and the EU under the Cotonou Agreement with the purpose of reaching a comprehensive agreement.”

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