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WikiLeaks: Family access threat over Fiji coup

WikiLeaks: Family access threat over Fiji coup

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New Zealand threatened Fiji's military chief Voreqe Bainimarama and his wife with the loss of access to their grandchildren if he staged a coup, WikiLeaks cables reveal.

Bainimarama and his wife Meli came to New Zealand in November 2006 to attend a grand-daughter's First Holy Communion in Wellington.

As he passed through Auckland he told Fairfax Media that when he returned to Fiji he would stage a coup on December 4 to overthrow the government of Laisenia Qarase.

This prompted then Foreign Minister Winston Peters and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to set up urgent meetings with Bainimarama and, later, Qarase who was flown down on an RNZAF flight.

The surprising part of the approaches is revealed by then US Ambassador Bill McCormick who advised Washington on what was to be said to Bainimarama.

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