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New diplomatic, defence and sports measures on Fij

The Government today announced further diplomatic, defence, and sports measures with respect to Fiji following yesterday’s announcement of the composition of the Fiji Cabinet.

Latest reports to hand suggest that the composition may not stick as Mr Speight makes further demands and that the Fijian President is reportedly indisposed.

Prime Minister Helen Clark and Foreign Affairs Minister Phil Goff said that New Zealand is making it abundantly clear that the course that Fiji is on is not acceptable to New Zealand.

"The ministerial line-up announced last night not only contained Speight supporters, but also was clearly unrepresentative of Fiji. It was to replace a government which did have a mandate derived from general elections held under the Fiji constitution.

“New Zealand has consistently called on Fiji’s authorities to put the country back on a path to democratic and constitutional government. There is little sign to date that rapid moves in that direction will be taken. Today's further delays in the formation of a government are yet more evidence that Fiji will be in a state of uncertainty for some time to come.

“Meantime people in Fiji live in concern for their personal safety and the security of their property. There is outright lawlessness in a number of places with authorities seemingly unable or unwilling to control events.

“Last night the New Zealand government announced that it was recalling the New Zealand High Commissioner to Fiji, Mr Tia Barrett.

“We intend now to call in the Fijian High Commissioner to New Zealand to a meeting with the Foreign Minister, Phil Goff, to express our concern about the continued state of affairs in Fiji.

“As a strong expression of New Zealand’s concern about what has happened and what is continuing to happen in Fiji we are today announcing that the Fijian military personnel in New Zealand are being sent home.

“There are currently thirty-nine such personnel with the New Zealand Army and two with the New Zealand Navy.

“New Zealand is also recalling its two New Zealand Defence Force personnel who are currently based in the Queen Elizabeth II barracks in Fiji.

“This is a strong measure which signals that New Zealand does not accept the situation in Fiji as either normal or acceptable. It is inevitable if Fiji continues on its present course that relations with Fiji will be distant and formal.

"Today we are extending the ban on sporting contacts with Fiji to 31 December 2000. The ban will cover national and club sides, and individuals deemed to be representing Fiji at sporting competitions in New Zealand,” Helen Clark and Phil Goff said.


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