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Fiji at the crossroads says Goff

Any solution to the Fijian crisis following release of the hostages that places George Speight's group in government would be totally unacceptable, Foreign Minister Phil Goff warned today.

Negotiations are continuing between the Fijian military and Speight and his supporters over the release of the hostages and a so-called interim government.

"Whatever the deal agreed to, we do not accept that people who are involved in terrorist actions can constitute a legitimate government.

"Nor do we believe those responsible for the murder of an unarmed policeman should ever be given amnesty.

"Australia and New Zealand, along with other governments, are now taking steps to see that Speight and all of those directly involved in the hostage taking, together with their legal and financial backers, are blacklisted for any travel to our countries.

"These people would be prevented from entering New Zealand under section 7(1)(f) of the Immigration Act 1987 which relates to those engaged in an act of terrorism outside New Zealand.

"Our governments are considering a range of possible measures which would come into effect if Fiji continues to diverge from a democratic path. These might include military, diplomatic and sporting links. We will also review our aid programmes.

"The Commonwealth Ministerial Advisory Group (CMAG) meets on 6 June to discuss Fiji's membership of the Commonwealth. If constitutional government is not restored, Fiji's continued membership would not accord with the principles for which the Commonwealth stands.

"Our governments want to see Fiji restore constitutional and democratic government and we will work to help achieve that aim.

"A huge amount of work and consultation went into the 1997 Constitution. It protected the rights of all Fijians. This Constitution had the support of the vast majority of Fiji's citizens. Its principles remain Fiji's best hope for the future," Mr Goff concluded.

ENDS

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