1 Nov 2006

International concern over Fiji instability

4:04 pm on 1 November 2006

Fiji's international friends have expressed serious concern with the military's stance in seeking the removal of the Qarase government and called on it to follow the rule of law.

Australia's foreign minister, Alexander Downer, says the prime minister, John Howard, has been in touch with his Fiji counterpart.

Mr Downer says Australian naval vessels are being prepared if the evacuation of Australian citizens becomes necessary.

Australia has updated its travel advisory advising Australians in Fiji to exercise caution and to avoid street demonstrations.

The New Zealand prime minister, Helen Clark, has called on the military commander, Commodore Bainimarama, to resign.

Helen Clark says the Fiji government was legitimately elected and appeared to have followed proper procedures in its bid to have Commodore Bainimarama removed.

The United States State Department has advised the military that any action against the government could jeopardise Fiji's relations with Washington and lead to a suspension of assistance to Fiji.