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Summary: 1 October 2007, Brussels – The Council decided to conclude consultations with the Republic of the Fiji Islands on measures to be taken following a military takeover in the country in December 2006.
The consultations were held in April, on the basis of article 96 of the ACP-EC Cotonou partnership agreement and article 37 of the EU's development cooperation instrument, and led to agreement by Fiji on a number of commitments. These include an early return to democracy and commitments on human rights, democratic principles and the rule of law.
The EU will continue to work with and support Fiji and will remain attentive to the respect of those commitments.
Following the military takeover on 5 December, Fiji was considered to be in breach of certain essential elements of political clauses contained in the Cotonou agreement. The takeover was neither legal nor constitutional, and damaged Fiji's institutions, economy and society, as well as its position on the international scene.
The takeover was condemned by the European Union in a declaration issued on 11 December. The EU invited Fiji to consultations, which took place in Brussels on 18 April.
The consultations resulted in a series of agreed commitments on the respect of democratic principles, the rule of law, human rights and fundamental freedoms, as well as follow-up arrangements leading to an early return to democracy. In particular, the interim government committed itself to a roadmap for elections to be held by 28 February 2009.
Since then, Fiji has made progress on several, but not yet all, of these commitments. The EU is encouraging the Fiji authorities to continue their efforts in implementing all agreed commitments, and stands ready to lend its support for this purpose.
The main objective of today's decision on appropriate measures is to put in place a framework for Europe to continue to assist and encourage Fiji in fully restoring respect for human rights, democratic principles and the rule of law. The Council decision will be communicated to the Fiji authorities and published in the EU Official Journal.
The EU will continue to monitor the situation closely, in close cooperation with the main regional organisation, the Pacific Islands Forum, which shares core values with the EU and provides international political leadership regarding Fiji. By rigorously following its commitments, it will be possible for Fiji to secure substantial development assistance from the EU, in particular for the re-structuring of its sugar sector.