AUSTRALIA SETS CONDITIONS FOR FIJI AID

SUVA, Fiji (Fijilive, March 26) - Australia’s High Commissioner to Fiji James Batley has stressed that any assistance to Fiji move towards elections will depend very much on a credible timetable for elections to restore democratic government as soon as possible.

Batley said Australia will participate in the joint working group Forum foreign ministers agreed to be established to engage with the Interim Government including on credible mechanisms for returning Fiji to democracy as soon as possible.

He made the comments in response to media reports on a statement by Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer that Australia will help fund a census in Fiji and the creation of new electoral boundaries so fresh elections can be held.

Downer said Fiji's military should commit to a timetable for an election within the next two years.

Batley said it is hoped the joint working group can provide a way forward.

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