Fiji expels Australian diplomat
By MICHAEL FIELD - Stuff
Last updated 23:16 12/07/2010
Fiji's military regime has retaliated against Australia after Suva suffered severe embarrassment when its Melanesian neighbours suddenly cancelled a high profile summit later this month.
Australian High Commissioner Stephen Smith said tonight their acting High Commissioner had been forced to leave Fiji by order of coup leader Voreqe Bainimarama.
He said it was because Australia would not support the summit meeting of the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG).
New Zealand has also refused to support the meeting but it is not known whether Suva will act again against Wellington.
Bainimarama had touted the MSG summit later this month as a counter-point to the Pacific Forum 16-nation summit that has suspended Fiji's membership.
The MSG takes in the Melanesian nations of Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, Vanuatu and the Melanesian political party in the French territory of New Caledonia.
Bainimarama had persuaded several Polynesian nations to attend the summit and claimed it was to counter the domination of Australia and New Zealand in the forum.
In an announcement tonight MSG chairman and Vanuatu's Prime Minister, Edward Natapei said they were deferring the summit because members could not agree on who would be the next chairman.
Natapei said the long term ramifications of Fiji chairing the MSG could not be ignored.
"There are basic fundamental principles and values of democracy and good governance that our organisation is built on and we must continue to uphold them," he said.
Mr Smith told AAP the decision to expel the Australian high commissioner was both unjustified and disappointing, but Australia would not retaliate.
"I'm not proposing to respond in kind," Mr Smith said.
Mr Smith said the reason behind Ms Roberts' expulsion was Australia's view with other Pacific countries that it was inappropriate to meet with Fiji as part of the MSG.
Fiji is a member of the sub-regional group and Bainimarama has been trying to build his support base with other Melanesian countries in the Pacific.
"We made it quite clear it was inappropriate," Mr Smith said.
"That's the proper reason from Fiji for the expulsion."
Mr Smith said he had spoken to his New Zealand counterpart, Murray McCully, and advised him of the "disappointing, surprising and a regrettably backward step".
He had also told him he would not respond by expelling Fiji's sole diplomat to Australia.
July 13, 2010
Ack - Here We Go Again...
This is the calibre of the man who thinks he is fit to rule the country.
When he is publicly hung to dry by the very group who he thought would protect him and his illegal rule, he retaliates by attacking someone else.
Until he learns to behave like an adult instead of the neighborhood bully, he and his gang would be better off dedicating 1 printing press at the Government Printery to churn out the "persona non grata" love letters, because the international community will not bow to childish tantrums.
Lest Bainimarama forgets the termite expert who has been helping us eradicate the plague is a gift in good faith of Australian taxpayers.
His attempt to kills the Fiji Times is also a continuum of kicks to the gut to Australia.
But we know the international community will not be deterred.
Bainimarama however in true childish fashion decides to have his party with or without his Melanesian Wantoks. What a gaff!
Hold on to your seats for the next peak and trough of this Mad Hatter's Merry Go Ride.