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Summary: EU Conclusions on the Opening of Consultations with Fiji under Article 96 of Cotonou Agreement (19 April 2007: Brussels)
Opening of Consultations with the Republic of Fiji Islands under Article 96 of the Cotonou Agreement (Brussels, 18 April 2007)- Conclusions of the European Union
The European Union attaches the highest importance to political dialogue with its ACP partners and to the stipulations of Article 9 of the ACP-EC Cotonou Agreement. Respect for human rights, democratic principles and the rule of law constitute the essential elements of the Partnership Agreement. Together with good governance, which is a fundamental element, they form the basis for our relations.
The European Union considers that the military take-over which took place in the Republic of Fiji Islands on 5 December 2006 constitutes a breach of the essential elements of Article 9 in the Cotonou Agreement, and of Article 3.1 of the Development Cooperation Instrument. The European Union further states that it considers essential that the rule of law is restored and that the political rights of all citizens in Fiji are respected equally and on the basis of Fiji's Constitution. The EU encourages Fiji to examine the roots of the "coup culture" and the means to eradicate it. For these reasons, the European Union invited Fiji for consultations. In order to facilitate comprehensive discussions and an optimal outcome the consultations took place under Article 96 of the Cotonou Agreement, and for the relevant instruments under Article 37 of the Development Cooperation Instrument.
During the opening of these consultations, which took place in Brussels, on 18 April 2007, the European Union noted with satisfaction that the Fijian Party confirmed certain commitments already undertaken, notably in the context of the consultations of the Pacific Islands Forum.
The European Union also takes note of the submission presented by Fiji on 18 April 2007 for the consultations.
At the outcome of the consultations a number of commitments were undertaken by Fiji.
Fiji's authorities commit themselves to a joint monitoring of the progress achieved in the relevant areas on implementation of all the commitments.
In the spirit of the partnership on which the Cotonou Agreement is based, the European Union declares its readiness to support key commitments.
The European Union will continue and deepen the political dialogue with Fiji to ensure the earliest possible restoration of respect for human rights, democratic principles and the rule of law. Respect for the essential elements of the Cotonou Agreement constitutes a prerequisite for the full normalisation of relations with Fiji. This dialogue will be conducted with a view to contributing to the establishment of a democratic political order which can provide Fiji with the stability needed for human dignity and sustainable socio-economic development.
On the basis of the report, which the Fijian side agrees to provide regarding the above-mentioned commitments, the European Union will monitor the situation very closely and, in particular, the commitments guaranteeing early and credible general elections foreseen for not later of 1 March 2009.
The importance of and the implementation of the commitments undertaken by Fiji will fundamentally influence the nature and scope of the appropriate measures to be decided on following these consultations.
In particular, the European Union would be ready to support efforts for the return to democracy and improve governance, as well as for the transition towards full respect for the essential elements of Article 9 of the Cotonou Agreement. In addition, the European Union confirms its commitment to protecting the poor.
The European Union welcomes the cooperation of the Fijian interim authorities, which is essential for the ability of the European Union to continue to assist Fiji in its development.
Taking into account the positive outcome of the consultations, based on the commitments undertaken by the Republic of Fiji Islands, the EU will consider appropriate measures for which the Commission will make proposals in due time.