INDEPENDENT NEWS

NZ Government disappointed by Fiji move

Published: Wed 24 Dec 2008 07:37 AM
NZ Government disappointed by Fiji move
Foreign Minister Murray McCully says the Fiji Interim Government this afternoon moved to expel New Zealand’s Acting High Commissioner, Caroline McDonald.
“At 5pm New Zealand time today the Acting High Commissioner was called to the offices of the Fiji Foreign Ministry and given a notice declaring her persona non-grata. She has been given one week to leave Fiji,” says Mr McCully.
“The New Zealand Government is disappointed but not surprised by this action. From the time of assuming office, we have attempted to work constructively to resolve issues in contention between this country and Fiji.
“That has been made difficult by the fact that Commodore Bainimarama has employed ultimatums and threats to advance his case. This Government has no intention of making concessions with a gun pointed at our heads.
“The precise allegations against the Acting High Commissioner are not specific but any assertion that she has not conducted herself appropriately is, of course, quite false. Commodore Bainimarama has sought specific exemptions from the travel ban under the threat of expelling our High Commissioner. There is no basis for the action that has been taken against Ms McDonald.
“I have tonight instructed officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to call in the Acting High Commissioner from Fiji. He will be advised that he has been declared persona non-grata and given one week to leave this country.
“In responding quickly and directly, we wish to emphasise that we do not wish to de-rail the prospect of the meeting of Pacific Forum leaders in late January making progress in dealing with the issues involving Fiji.”
ends

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