14 Jun 2007

Fiji says New Zealand High Commissioner expelled for interfering in domestic affairs

7:01 pm on 14 June 2007

The Fiji interim regime says that it expelled the New Zealand High Commissioner, Michael Green, because he was interfering in Fiji's domestic affairs.

In a statement it also says that its High Commissioner to New Zealand, Bal Ram, has been snubbed by the New Zealand Government since the coup in December last year and that Mr Green did little to help this situation.

It says it deeply regrets its action but had little choice.

The interim regime says it sees no reason why the matter should affect Fiji's relations with other countries or international agencies.

It says provisions remain open to New Zealand to send a replacement.

The interim government has ordered Mr Green to leave Fiji by Monday June the 18th.

The New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark has criticised the expulsion, saying it is disgraceful.

The director of the Fiji Human Rights Commission says it's not surprised that the interim regime expelled Mr Green.

"I must say that I had already informed New Zealand foreign affairs in December last year that the information that was going to New Zealand from Fiji was not the information that has been verified across the board and I was concerned about the kind of information that was going through."

Shaista Shameem says the New Zealand government should have contacted other organisations, such as the human rights commission, for their view on things.

The Fiji Citizens Constitutional Forum, or CCF, says it is troubled by the expulsion.

Its executive director, The Reverend Akuila Yabaki, says he regrets the development.

It is very sad that when one thinks that things are getting better, the uplifting of the the public emergency regulations and the report of the Pacific Islands Forum committee working on the dating of the elections, it is unfortunate that this has happened.

The Reverend Akuila Yabaki