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Dunne Has Private Meeting With Mahendra Chaudhry

Dunne Has Private Meeting With Mahendra Chaudhry

United New Zealand leader, Hon Peter Dunne says he has received a clear message from deposed Fijian Prime Minister Chaudhry that New Zealand must do more to promote the restoration of democracy in Fiji.

He was speaking after their private meeting in Wellington this afternoon.

The meeting had been initiated by Mr Chaudhry because of Mr Dunne's strong support for Fijian democracy.

"We had a very wide-ranging discussion about the steps the New Zealand Government should be taking now and in the future to restore democracy in Fiji."

"We agreed that New Zealand should be taking the immediate following actions:

* Continuing to push for the immediate restoration of Fiji's 1997 Constitution; * Granting refugee status to 50-60 Indo-Fijian families who have been utterly dispossessed of land property since the coup; * Approving applications for permanent residence on family reunification grounds from Fijian residents with family in New Zealand and wishing to relocate here; * Sending an all-party delegation to Fiji to assess fully the plight of Indo-Fijians following the coup; * Considering the immediate imposition of trade and economic sanctions."

"In the longer term, we agreed that New Zealand should:

* Work with Australia, Canada and the United States on a long-term resettlement plan for Indo-Fijian families wishing to leave Fiji permanently; * Work with Australia to bring together a Commonwealth mission to visit Fiji to push for the restoration of the 1997 Constitution; * Retain all diplomatic and economic sanctions in place until democratic government is restored in Fiji," he says.

Mr Dunne says Mr Chaudhry was extremely grateful for the support his deposed Government has received so far from New Zealand, but was very concerned that that support might soften the longer the interim government remained in place.

"As he observed to me at the conclusion of our meeting, the price of freedom must always be eternal vigilance," Mr Dunne says.

ENDS

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