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Fiji Time: 7:38 PM on Friday 25 April

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McCully considers lifting sanctions

Ioane Burese
Tuesday, March 13, 2012

NEW Zealand foreign minister Murray McCully says he's keeping an open mind about sanctions on Fiji, after Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama announced plans last week to consult the public on a new constitution, which is expected to be ready by next February.

Commodore Bainimarama, who seized power in a 2006 coup, said the new constitution would enshrine principles of one-person-one-vote, an independent judiciary and transparent governance.

According to a media report, Mr McCully said Wellington saw the consultation as a step in the right direction for Fiji, and it was keeping an open mind about post-coup sanctions.

"We've never ruled out looking at the sanctions," he said.

"I hope that we have to look at the sanctions because sufficient progress is being made to require that.

"I think there will be some things that we have to do to help this process along. We're very open-minded about what that might be and I've expressed that open-mindedness to the Fijian foreign minister and his government."

Australia's incoming foreign minister Bob Carr held informal talks with Mr McCully on Friday in Auckland, which included the political situation in Fiji.

He rejected media claims that he is planning to soften Australia's stance against Fiji, saying it was "premature".