WELLINGTON, New Zealand (RNZI, Nov. 21) - The Fiji government says it will sign an agreement with the United States not to hand over its citizens to the International Criminal Court.

Despite criticism and warnings, foreign minister Kaliopate Tavola has told parliament that the intended agreement will ensure that Fiji’s commitment to the International Criminal Court and the Rome Statute establishing it will remain intact.

Mr Tavola has also revealed that he United States has fully normalized relations with Fiji, including the restoration of the military co-operation program.

A United States embassy spokesman in Suva says it is pleased with the minister’s statement, adding that there will now be a number of advantages to Fiji, including US$1 million in cash assistance.

Fiji has joined more than 70 countries which have agreed not to hand over US citizens to the ICC because Washington fears that politically motivated charges could be laid against its nationals.

Earlier this week, the European Union lifted all restrictions on aid to Fiji, releasing US$25 million for a rural primary education and vocational training program.

November 24, 2003

Radio New Zealand International:


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