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Brussels, 15 April 2009

Statement by Commissioner Louis Michel on situation in Fiji

Louis Michel, the European Commissioner for Development Cooperation and Humanitarian Aid, today expressed deep regret and disappointment regarding recent regressive developments in Fiji; in particular the abrogation of the Constitution, the sacking of all judges, the delay of general elections until 2014 and the curtailment of freedom of speech.

The Commissioner was particularly disappointed, since the interim Government had agreed with the EU on a plan which would have restored political order and democracy to Fiji and at the same time would have allowed the EU to provide substantial financial support to rescue the sugar sector and help restore the economy.

Commissioner Michel called on the interim Government to reconsider these decisions and to honour its commitments to the international community and ultimately the people of Fiji.

Commissioner Michel said: "These developments are unacceptable for the international community. Commitments must be respected. An early and inclusive domestic political process leading to a return to constitutional order and democracy in Fiji will allow us to provide assistance to Fiji, at a time when global economic prospects are becoming increasingly difficult."

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