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Thursday, February 01, 2007

Fiji Interim government says safety of USP students and staff number one priority

The Fiji Interim government has assured the University of the South Pacific plus other regional institutions in Fiji that the safety of students, staff and property will be of uttermost importance to the interim leadership.

Interim Education Minister Netani Sukanaivalu's assurance follows the university's earlier comments on monday on the safety of their regional and international students in any political unrest.

USP vice chancellor Professor Anthony Tarr had said USP maintained its high standards as a premier institution in learning but was not responsible for its international students here.

"We have a few students from outside the region but we do not hold concern for their safety," he said.

Mr Sukanaivalu said the Interim government welcomed all students and staff of USP from countries within the region and abroad.

Last week, a meeting was held between Mr Sukanaivalu and Pro-Chancellor of USP, Fiame Mata'afa, where USP was given the assurance and commitment of the Interim Government to assist in the smooth and safe operation of the institution at the start of the new semester.

Mr Tarr said they were having dialogue with Pacific and other member countries on the political situation in Fiji.

He said he had talks with member countries concerning the political climate but this would in no way affect the beginning of the new school semester at USP. Mr Tarr said 22,000 students from the Pacific and as well as some international students enrolled for the first semester of the school year.

Source: Fiji Times

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