FIJI CONFIDENT OF $219 MILLION EUROPEAN UNION AID

admin's picture

SUVA, Fiji (Fijilive, April 23) – The Fiji Cabinet will be briefed today by its three-member delegation regarding the crucial meeting with European Union representatives in Brussels last week.

Interim Attorney General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, interim Finance Minister Mahendra Chaudhry and interim Foreign Minister Ratu Epeli Nailatikau returned home over the weekend, confident that Fiji would receive the FJ$350 million [US$219 million] in aid from the European Union.

However, Fiji has to meet various requirements to collect the money from the European Union over the next 5 to 7 years.

According to Sayed-Khaiyum, one requirement the Cabinet will need not worry about is the return of interim Prime Minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama to the barracks.

The U.S.A., Australian and New Zealand Governments have specifically called for a totally civilian Cabinet.

The European Union though has changed its stance on Bainimarama, said Sayed-Khaiyum.

"That was the European Union's original position but following consultations with us, they did not require that commitment from us," he said.

Political sociologist at the University of the South Pacific Dr. Steven Ratuva said the return to the barracks of soldiers is usually an aim of all military coups.

He adds that the handing over of the Prime Minister's position to a civilian will be "seen as a great leap forward in terms of moving towards re-democratization."

In a poll conducted by Fijilive.com, 67 percent of respondents wanted Bainimarama to stay on as interim Prime Minister despite international pressure.

Bainimarama indicated after his overthrow of the Qarase government in December that he wanted to lead Cabinet to ensure the success of his clean-up campaign against corruption.

Rate this article: 
No votes yet

Add new comment