11 Feb 2005

Fiji drops Rabuka from possible Washington posting

4:31 pm on 11 February 2005

Fiji has withdrawn the nomination of the former prime minister and 1987 coup leader, Sitiveni Rabuka, as its ambassador to the United States.

Mr Rabuka has told the FIJI SUN that he had lunch with the chief executive of the Prime Minister's Office, Jioji Kotobalavu, who asked him if he objected to the withdrawal of his name.

Mr Rabuka says no reason was given.

The post of Fiji's ambassador in Washington has been vacant since January last year when Anare Jale returned to become the chief executive of the public service commission.

Mr Rabuka was nominated about mid last year amid strong objections from groups around the world who lobbied the US State Department against him for his 1987 coups.

The State Department was also awaiting a Fiji police clearance for Mr Rabuka who was under suspicion of being involved in the November 2000 army mutiny.

The State Department had still not responded on whether it would accept Mr Rabuka's nomination.