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Fiji - Threat To Democracy

Office of Public Affairs
U.S. Embassy, Wellington

PRESS RELEASE

FIJI - THREAT TO DEMOCRACY


Wellington, June 2, 2000 -- The United States continues to be very concerned about developments in the ongoing crisis in Fiji, said U.S. Department of State Acting Spokesman Philip Reeker.

“We condemn the repugnant, criminal actions of George Speight and his band of gunmen who are still holding hostages in Fiji's parliamentary complex. The hostages should be released immediately and unconditionally.

“The United States opposes any unconstitutional change of government in the Republic of the Fiji Islands. The consequences of any such action would be substantial and detrimental to Fiji's standing in the international community.

“Upholding basic principles of democracy and international standards of human rights, as embodied in Fiji's 1997 constitution, will be a benchmark for determining our reaction to the crisis in Fiji.

“An unconstitutional change of government is taking place in Fiji. Commander Frank Bainimarama has declared he is in power and the 1997 constitution has been revoked. Amnesty has been offered to George Speight and some of his followers, and it is uncertain when democracy will return to Fiji.

“Such actions fly in the face of international norms and standards of democracy. We are therefore considering a range of steps in consultation with other nations that could have serious impact on Fiji's international contacts and on outside assistance.”


U.S. Embassy, 29 Fitzherbert Tce, Wellington Tel: 04/472-2068


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