WASHINGTON — The United States has rescinded a ban on sales of military equipment to the South Pacific island nation of Fiji.
An announcement Friday in the Federal Register said the shift in defense trade policy is in response to credible, democratic elections in Fiji last September. The U.S. had restricted its assistance following a military coup in 2006.
Voreqe Bainimarama, who launched the coup and served as military ruler for eight years, won a decisive victory in the election and is now prime minister.
The Obama administration has stepped up U.S. engagement with Pacific island nations as it vies for regional influence with China.
In October, the U.S. said it was exploring opportunities to resume engaging with Fiji’s military, including in training exercises and in cooperating on issues of global concern.