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New Zealand eases Fiji sanctions, increases aid

September 12, 2013

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — New Zealand said Thursday that it was easing sanctions and increasing aid to Fiji, after the Pacific island nation’s military regime adopted a new constitution last week.

New Zealand Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully said he welcomed the new constitution and Fiji’s progress toward holding democratic elections.

Fiji’s leader, Commodore Frank Bainimarama, seized power in a 2006 coup. He has promised to hold elections next year, which he plans to contest.

McCully said New Zealand had ended travel bans to the country on Fijian sports teams and those peripherally connected to the coup. Travel bans remain in place for key regime leaders.

New Zealand has also reinstated 10 postgraduate scholarships for Fijian students, and is increasing financial aid and election assistance.

Many observers worry Fiji’s new constitution will curtail certain freedoms and is self-serving to the regime.

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