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Goff urges New Zealanders to avoid Fiji


Hon Phil Goff
Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade
Media Statement

11 July, 2000

Goff urges New Zealanders to avoid Fiji


The threatened take-over of Nadi airport last night by Sabeto landowners highlights the vulnerability of New Zealanders in Fiji, Foreign Minister Phil Goff said today.

"If Nadi airport was to close it would create a major logistical problem evacuating the 900 New Zealand tourists and 900 New Zealanders residing in Fiji if the need arose.

"Visitors risk being stranded in Fiji if transportation is suddenly disrupted.

"While Fiji is quiet today, the situation nevertheless remains volatile and unpredictable. It could get worse as groups develop the expectation that they can achieve their ends by direct action.

"Recent lawlessness and civil disobedience attest to the military's failure to maintain basic security functions.

"Disaffected groups have taken over weapons from the army, have seized police stations, key state assets such as the Monosavu Power Station and other hostages.

"Road blockades remain in place and passes for transit of main arterial routes are now being issued by Speight from within the parliamentary complex.

"Tribal leaders seem unable to prevent rising lawlessness and some appear complicitly to support it.

"In these circumstances, I reiterate the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade's advice for New Zealanders to stay away from Fiji.


ENDS




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