SUVA, Fiji (Fiji Times, Jan. 5) – New Zealand is skeptical that the handing back of executive power from the military to President Ratu Josefa Iloilo means a step towards democracy.

Duty Minister Ruth Dyson said the proof of the pudding will be in the eating ... "in this case, whether the two are foreshadowing a genuine commitment to the restoration of democratic government and the rule of law as soon as possible".

"Confirmation that executive authority in Fiji rests with the President does not, on its own, satisfy the many international and regional calls for restoration of democracy and fundamental freedoms in Fiji," she said. "New Zealand is concerned too that the President, in accepting back executive authority, endorsed the Commander's actions in taking over the Government. There is no doubt the coup was illegal and unconstitutional."

She said that until concrete progress was made in Fiji, sanctions imposed by New Zealand would stay in place.

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