Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Australia Expells Fiji Diplomat

The Australian - 4/11/2009

AUSTRALIA has expelled Fiji's acting high commissioner, Kamlesh Kumar Arya, in retaliation for a similar move by Fijian leaders.

The move comes as Prime Minister Kevin Rudd warned Fiji's influence could trigger a "coup culture" in the Pacific and Australia must take a tough stand.

Fiji's military ruler Commodore Frank Bainimarama has accused Australia of targeting trade and interfering with judicial appointments after Fiji sacked its judiciary.

But Foreign Minister Stephen Smith has rejected the first charge, noting Australia has not imposed trade sanctions.

Mr Rudd said today it was clear Fiji's leaders had violated the constitution, suspended the judiciary and conducted a military coup.

“We do not want this coup culture to spread elsewhere in the Pacific,” he told ABC radio.

However, he did not say how Australia would respond to the latest problem.

It's the first time Fiji has expelled an Australian high commissioner.

The Department of Foreign Affairs has described the move as provocative and unreasonable.

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