10 May 2002

Leaders won't have to meet security criteria to come to Fiji summit

3:02 pm on 10 May 2002

Leaders of the African, Caribbean and Pacific countries attending a summit in Fiji in July will not have to meet strict security criteria laid down by police.

The foreign minister, Kaliopate Tavola, has told the Fiji Times, that the leaders, whatever their political standing, should be allowed in because they are heads of state.

Mr Tavola says the ACP summit is for leaders and it would be senseless to refuse them entry.

His comments follow a police warning that delegates to the summit would not be allowed in if their background was tainted.

They would have to fill in forms which would include information about involvement in terrorism, previous convictions and drug use.

A senior police spokesman says no delegate would be forced to fill in the form but if anyone did not fulfil the criteria, they would not be allowed in, irrespective of nationality.

But the officer refused to comment on whether people implicated in the May 2000 coup would be allowed in.

Some senior Fiji officials are reported to have refused to fill in the forms.