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UN Secretary-General Plauds NZ’s Role In Fiji

UN Secretary-General Plauds New Zealand’s Role In Fiji

By Andreas von Warburg reporting from New York.

UNITED NATIONS – Secretary-General Kofi Annan has expressed gratitude for New Zealand’s role as an active member of the Pacific Island Forum in Fiji. “New Zealand is an important actor within the Pacific Island Forum,” said Stéphane Dujarric de la Rivière, Annan’s spokesperson, during a briefing with the press. “The Secretary-General appreciates the role of that Forum and of neighboring countries in resolving the crisis.”

After weeks of threats, Fiji’s military was able to overthrow the Government – the fourth coup d’etat in 19 years – and put Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase on house arrest. The situation is now closely monitored by the United Nations Security Council, which last week expressed concerns over the situation in the South Pacific island.

The Secretary-General has condemned the seizure of power by the military leadership and is calling for the immediate reinstatement of the legitimate authority in Fiji and its return to constitutional rule through peaceful means and inclusive dialogue, as a UN statement reads. “It is clear that any coup, any forcible removal from power of a democratically elected government will have consequences for a country and its standing in the international community,” said Dujarric commenting on the Secretary-General statement.

Annan’s spokesman clarified that there has been no discussion on removing Fijian soldiers who serve with the United Nations and perform an admirable job in protecting the UN staff in Baghdad. “Depending on the course of events – he said – what has happened in Fiji could have a role with regard to future peacekeeping operations.” Fiji reportedly has 275 troops working in UN missions around the world.

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On Tuesday, Fiji's army commander, Commodore Frank Bainimarama appointed himself as Fiji's president and has sacked elected prime minister Laisenia Qarase and president Ratu Josefa Iloilo. Bainimarama has appointed a 77 year-old army doctor, Dr Jona Senilagakali, as interim prime minister. Dr Senilagakali's office is located at the military's Queen Elizabeth Barracks, in Nabua, Suva. He is also head of Fiji's medical association, and is from the chiefly village of Tubou, Lakeba, in Lau. For more of this report, see… Bainimarama Appoints Himself President Of Fiji

Scoop Audio.Scoop Audio: (click here to listen) Selwyn Manning reports on Radio Adelaide that NZ PM Helen Clark has said Fijian military who remain loyal to their constitution should tell Bainimarama he has been replaced.

ENDS

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