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Observer mission

Dawn Gibson
Thursday, April 17, 2014

WORK towards forming an Australian observer mission for the September 17 polls is well in progress, with a number of meetings being held between Australia and Fiji.

Acting Australian High Commissioner Glenn Miles confirmed this in an interview yesterday, saying they were working on getting specialists into the country to help facilitate the observer mission process.

"We're just in discussions with the government for the terms of reference and we've had a couple of really productive meetings, so we're just looking forward to working that out and starting the observer process," he said.

"I had a meeting with the Attorney-General yesterday (Tuesday) so we expect it to move forward fairly quickly."

When asked whether there were any delays in the process, Mr Miles said there were none and it was just a matter of working out all the steps involved in the process.

"So, yes there's enough time there at the moment."

He clarified though, that they were not entirely sure about exactly how many observers would be part of the election.

"Numbers are something we have to work out so what we'll probably look at doing is getting in a couple of experts and they'll sit there and work out how many we'll need and that's something the mission itself will determine, so we're just sorting out the framework for the observer mission to come in.

"I think our minister Julie Bishop made it clear while she was here that there has been significant progress, so Australia recognises that and two weeks ago we lifted all travel sanctions which was positive and it was also a sign of the progress in preparations for elections.

"We've got a couple of people in there at the moment and we're bringing over a couple more, working with the Electoral Commission and the Supervisor of Elections to work out and see if there are any gaps that we can help fill and it's not just us, it's the other donors as well."

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