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Wellington may ease some Fiji sanctions
12:21 pm GMT+12, 02/04/2012, Fiji
New Zealand foreign Minister Murray McCully has set out new terms under which New Zealand might relax some of its sanctions on the Fijian Government led by Commodore  Frank  Bainimarama.

McCully said that if Fiji were to request that New Zealand should exempt new civilian appointees to the cabinet or to permanent secretary’s roles coming in to replace military people currently occupying those roles, “then we’d certainly consider lifting the sanctions as far as those individuals were concerned.”

“Because it is true that that is an impediment,” said McCully said while speaking on TV3’s “The Nation”.

As part of a range of so-called “smart” sanctions, Wellington stops entry into New Zealand of Fiji military members and where it can public officials appointed by the Government.

Asked what New Zealand’s response would be to Fiji if Commodore Bainimarama restricted politicians like deposed former Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase from standing for election McCully said New Zealand’s repose would be made in collaboration with Australia and other Pacific countries.

“But we certainly would be focused on whether elections are free and fair, can anyone be a candidate?” he said.

“Are people going to be able to have freedom of assembly? Is the media going to be free to report what’s going on? All of those factors will determine how we behave and again New Zealand’s tried to be quite constructive and open minded about this.

“To the extent that positive changes are occurring, we want to encourage them.

“We want to be part of that process.”

McCully said New Zealand would suspend its judgement on the consultative dialogue taking place within Fiji over the new constitution.

“We should be open minded about the possibility that it might be inclusive and that’ll be a good sign,” he said.

SOURCE: TV3/ FIJI SUN/PACNEWS

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