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Prince Charles Hopeful of End to Kava Ban
12 March 2005 - Fiji Times

PRINCE Charles is hopeful that the export ban on Fiji's traditional drink will be lifted in the near future.

This was relayed by Foreign Affairs Minister Kaliopate Tavola after a brief conversation with the Prince of Wales on Thursday.

"It is good to see that he is well versed with what's happening in our country and he is obviously concerned about the ban in the United States of America," said Mr Tavola yesterday.

"He asked me about the situation of the kava ban and he wanted to know about it. "I told him the ban was still in place."

He said Prince Charles then told him of his hopes for the ban to be lifted soon.

The two were speaking at the Nadi Airport, shortly after Prince Charles' arrival at Nadi Airport.

Mr Tavola spent more than five minutes talking with the prince, who looked very intrigued by their conversation.

So much so that even the crowd's calls to Prince Charles did nothing to shift his attention.

Mr Tavola said although Prince Charles' last visit was about 30 years, he had obviously not lost touch with the situation in Fiji.

Fiji Kava Council chairman Joe Nawalowalo welcomed Prince Charles' comments.

The kava advocate and businessman said the prince's comments was a blessing considering that it came from a member of the Royal family.

"It is so encouraging to see that Prince Charles is concerned about the export ban on kava," said Mr Nawalowalo.

"At least we know he cares and being the future King of England, his comments will be quite strong."

He said scientists from Europe had attended a Kava conference in Suva last November where they stated that kava was safe.

"But despite those endorsements, nothing has been done about the ban," he said.

"So with Prince Charles saying those words, we are really happy to see that he is concerned."

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