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United Supports Tougher Fiji Stand

31 July 2000

United Supports Tougher Fiji Stand

United New Zealand leader, Hon Peter Dunne, is calling for stronger New Zealand action against Fiji.

Mr Dunne was speaking following a special meeting he held in Auckland with representatives of the Coalition for Democracy in Fiji.

"I think the New Zealand Government has gone soft on its response to the Fijian crisis, and has lost sight of the basic principles of equality, social justice and human rights in Fiji."

"As a result we are giving away any position of influence we might have over events in Fiji now that the coup is over," he says.

Mr Dunne is calling on the New Zealand Government to:

* Make clear its support for the immediate restoration of the 1997 Fiji Constitution, and to consider possible legal and financial assistance towards a possible legal challenge to the legitimacy of the interim Fiji Government;

* Take the lead amongst South Pacific Forum nations in mobilising opposition to the interim, unelected Government in Fiji, and make clear its support for trade and economic sanctions against Fiji unless the 1997 Constitution is restored within 6 to 8 months;

* Push for the immediate removal of Fijian Armed Forces from United Nations peacekeeping missions until the restoration of the 1997 Constitution;

* Maintain sporting bans on Fiji and existing 'smart' sanctions until and unless the 1997 Constitution is restored;

* Redirect all suspended Government-to-Government direct aid to NGOs prepared to assist Fiji's internal reconstruction following the coup.

"Any actions less than these will confirm the victory of Speight and his terrorists."

"Even though they might now be in prison, the Constitution and the legally elected Government has been overthrown and not restored, and Fiji today is an undemocratic country."

"That is an unacceptable affront to the region, and New Zealand will be a laughing stock if it gives in to the coup and lets the interim Government take the next three years to rewrite the country's democratic Constitution to suit the coupsters," he says.

ENDS


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