8 Nov 2006

Australian foreign minister defers trip to Fiji

10:44 am on 8 November 2006

The Australian foreign minister, Alexander Downer, has cancelled a planned visit to Fiji which was to have begun tomorrow.

Fiji TV reports that the cancellation has been confirmed by the Australian high commission in Suva.

Fiji's foreign affairs minister, Kaliopate Tavola, says his meeting with Mr Downer on Friday has been deferred, possibly till later in the month.

At the same time, Australia has issued a travel advisory to its citizens asking them to reconsider travelling to Suva because of the risk of military action against the state.

It says Australians should keep away from prominent government buildings such as the parliament, as well avoid all military installations and concentrations of military personnel.

Meanwhile the Canadian government has given its support to the Qarase government and has appealed to the military to respect democracy and the rule of law.

The parliamentary secretary to the Canadian minister of foreign affairs, Deepak Obhraj, has told the House of Commons in Ottawa that they are closely monitoring the situation in Fiji and will provide any assistance for the peace process.