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Cablegate: Gnz Tough but Pessimistic On Fiji's Bainimarama

VZCZCXRO8469
PP RUEHMJ RUEHPB
DE RUEHWL #0931/01 3301833
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 261833Z NOV 06
FM AMEMBASSY WELLINGTON
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 3532
INFO RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA 4625
RUEHMJ/AMEMBASSY MAJURO 0097
RUEHPB/AMEMBASSY PORT MORESBY 0618
RUEHSV/AMEMBASSY SUVA 0538
RHEHAAA/NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL WASHDC
RHHMUNA/CDR USPACOM HONOLULU HI
RHHJJAA/JICPAC HONOLULU HI
RUEKJCS/OSD WASHINGTON DC
RHHMUNA/USCINCPAC HONOLULU HI

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 WELLINGTON 000931

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

STATE FOR D (FRITZ), EAP/FO, EUR/RPM, AND EAP/ANP
NSC FOR VICTOR CHA
SECDEF FOR OSD/ISD JESSICA POWERS
PACOM FOR J01E/J2/J233/J5/SJFHQ

E.O. 12958: DECL: 11/23/2016
TAGS: ASEC PREL PGOV FJ TN NZ
SUBJECT: GNZ TOUGH BUT PESSIMISTIC ON FIJI'S BAINIMARAMA

REF: WELLINGTON 924

Classified By: DCM David J. Keegan. Reasons: E.O. 12958, 1.4
(b) and (d).

1. (U) This is an action cable, see para 7.

2. (C) Summary: GNZ anticipates that Commodore Bainimarama
will execute his plan to remove members of the government of
Fiji on December 4 regardless of what he hears from foreign
critics. New Zealand Foreign Minister Winston Peters will
meet with Bainimarama on November 25. While Peters will
deliver strongly worded points (reftel), MFAT anticipates
that Bainimarama will refuse to listen and that he will
remain resolute in carrying out his plan. GNZ will adjust
what sanctions it will impose depending on how the coup
unfolds, but anticipates strong sanctions even if there is an
"administrative coup." MFAT sees that the situation in Tonga
is stabilizing -- for the moment -- and continues to develop
an assistance package and timetable for withdrawal of defense
and police forces.

Grim on what lies next in Fiji
------------------------------

3. (C) Following a briefing on Fiji and Tonga to the
diplomatic corps, Heather Riddell, Director, Pacific
Division, New Zealand's Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade
(MFAT) offered a supplemental brief to Embassy Wellington
officers. On the subject of Fiji, MFAT has concluded that on
December 4, Commodore Bainimarama will execute his plans for
a coup, mindful of the fact that events may move more quickly
if sedition charges are laid against Bainimarama. MFAT is
grappling with what technically would constitute a coup, but
would view any change prompted by military pressure as at
least an "administrative coup" -- with sanctions likely to
come close those involving a full coup.

4. (C) Tomorrow, November 25, New Zealand Foreign Minister is
scheduled to meet Bainimarama one-on-one at his office,
although MFAT doubts that the Commodore will be in a
listening mode. The GNZ assesses that Bainimarama is
resolute on carrying out his plan. MFAT anticipates
providing Embassy Wellington with a download of the Peters
meeting as soon as possible.

5. (C) If a coup takes place, GNZ anticipates as one worst
case scenario that New Zealand would receive a request from
PM Qarase for joint Aussie-Kiwi military assistance. "This
is not a scenario we would relish," said Riddell, "as we
would not necessarily prevail." MFAT is mindful that its
military is now spread thin, and Riddell said New Zealand
would resist the call for assistance. Another worst case
scenario would see the Republic of Fiji Military Forces
(RFMF) fragmenting and turning on itself, which could turn
violent.

But somewhat optimistic on Tonga
--------------------------------

6. (C) Following the King of Tonga's speech from the throne
on November 23, in which he requested from Parliament a
proposal on reform including a timetable, MFAT's view is that
the situation in Tonga is stabilizing. NZAID continues to
develop a package of assistance. GNZ is anticipating to
withdrawal defense and police forces in the near term, but
still does not have a timetable. Associate Minister for
Pacific Island Affairs Winnie Laban indicated to DCM the
evening before that she is not optimistic about Tonga,
anticipating that it will be difficult to develop the kind of
development program that will enable Tonga to become
economically sustainable.

Action Request: UN Resolution
-----------------------------

7. (C) MFAT understands that EAP/ANP Director Steve McGann
and New Zealand Embassy Deputy Chief of Mission Ian Hill have
discussed a possible UN resolution. MFAT would welcome more

WELLINGTON 00000931 002 OF 002


information about that discussion, and believes that a UN
resolution would make it easier for the British to change
their travel advisory for Fiji.
McCormick

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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