EU Impressed With Fiji’s Progress Towards Democracy

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Political dialogue results in agreement to cooperate

By Vuniwaqa Bola-Bari

SUVA, Fiji (Fiji Times, June 16, 2015) – The EU and the Fiji Government have agreed to seek common lines to tackle key international challenges such as climate change and responses to international crises.

This was an outcome of Fiji's first political dialogue with the EU today since the country's return to democracy.

The meeting was chaired on the Fijian side by Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama and on behalf of High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Edgars Rinkevics the Foreign Affairs minister of Latvia.

Mr Rinkevics said with the Parliament running, Fiji had carried out remarkable reforms since its return to democracy.

"The parliament is up and running, and has already addressed many important issues for Fiji, some of which have been positively noted in the international context such as the decision to ratify the United Nations Convention Against Torture (UNCAT) and to abolish the last provisions on death penalty, just to mention two," Mr Rinkevics said.

"In addition, Fiji has a number of women in key positions both in the Parliament and in the Government, which may serve as an example and inspiration to the whole Pacific region."

[PIR editor’s note: Fiji Times also reported that ‘The European Union is impressed with the Fijian Government and now considers this country a true democracy. … EU Co-chair at the ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly Louis Michel said the European Union had once doubted the capacity of Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama to deliver in a democratic system. But yesterday he said he was obliged to recognise that Mr Bainimarama worked rather well and Fiji was on a good path.’]

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