SUVA, 1 October 2012/ GOF: A report emanating from a joint ACP & EU fact finding mission that visited Fiji this year has been well received by the ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly and the Fijian Government.

In July this year, the fact finding mission made up of representatives from the African Caribbean and Pacific Group (ACP) and the European Union (EU), visited Fiji to assess the reforms currently being implemented by Government.

The 12-member delegation held extensive and open discussions with Government representatives and a wide range of political stakeholders including leaders of political parties and the two previous Prime Ministers, as well as civil society and non-state actor representatives.

Responding to the report, the Bureau of the ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary expressed satisfaction with the mission’s observations and recommendations. The report acknowledges that the process for the restoration of democracy depends on the people of Fiji themselves, according to their own social, economic and political priorities.

The Bureau had met in Brussels this month to deliberate on the report which also looked at the progress made by authorities to return the country to constitutional order and parliamentary democracy. The Bureau remained confident that the Fijian people can find solutions to the political issues that confront them and build a better society for present and future generations.

Commenting on this latest development, Fiji’s Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Ratu Inoke Kubuabola highlighted that the report acknowledges the work undertaken by Government to move the country towards elections in 2014.

“I note that the Joint Bureau discussed the Report on Thursday 20 September and that the Report did not appear on the agenda for the standing Sub-Committee on Political Affairs last week. This could mean that the Bureau has accepted this Report as is, without further deliberations. We will have to ascertain whether it will appear in the agenda of the Political Affairs Sub-committee in Surinam where the Joint ACP-EU Plenary meeting will be held from 21-26 November, 2012”.

“Overall, the report is positive, satisfactory and recognises the commitment that government has demonstrated to continue along with the processes outlined in the Roadmap. The sentiments expressed by those opposing individuals alluded to in the report were expected, and the language in the report suggests to me that even these individuals recognise the practicality of the situation and the importance of proceeding towards elections in 2014”, Ratu Inoke said.

“Our Ambassador to the EU will be forwarding this report to the European Commission for its consideration and hope that its positivity will fast-track a complete change of perception, that has been so far coloured by ANZ and PIF.”

(Photos from top: Fijian Minister of Foreign affairs Ratu Inoke Kubuabola; The Fiji Foreign Minister (left) and Ambassador to Brussels H.E Peceli Vocea (seconf from right) with fellow Pacific delegates at the ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly in Horsens, May 2012)

– Fiji Government Ministry of Information