NZ lifts Fiji travel sanctions

Last updated 12:16 31/03/2014

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New Zealand is lifting travel sanctions against Fiji, Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully has confirmed.

In a statement, McCully said the progress Fiji was making towards holding free and fair elections deserved recognition from the Pacific region and international community.

"There are now more than 500,000 people registered to vote in the September elections, electoral commissioners have been appointed and importantly Commodore [Voreqe] Bainimarama has stepped down as the head of the Military.

"The visit by the Pacific Islands Forum Ministerial Contact Group in February was a success and the Commonwealth recently acknowledged the progress that Fiji is making.

"Last week the electoral decree was published, an Elections Supervisor appointed, and the 17th of September was announced as the election date."

As a consequence New Zealand would end all remaining travel sanctions and would also remove all remaining restrictions on New Zealand Government departments working directly with their Fiji counterparts.

Sanctions were imposed on Fiji in response to the 2006 military coup installing military leader Bainimarama as the interim leader.

They included:  

A ban on ministerial contact with any purported new government in Fiji unless it was for dialogue and mediation purposes.

A ban on members of the new administration travelling to New Zealand.

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