10 May 2008

US refuses transit visa to Fiji's interim Attorney-General

9:41 am on 10 May 2008

Fiji's interim Attorney-General has been refused a transit visa by the United States.

Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum hopes to attend to a United Nations conference in Vienna, Austria and wants to go via the US.

His spokeswoman Brenda Ragi says told Fiji Live that Mr Sayed-Khaiyum will lodge a complaint to the UN Secretary General following the US Embassy's refusal to grant a transit visa to attend the conference.

In a statement, the he said he accepts that whilst the US, like any other country, has the right to refuse entry or deport non-citizens, member States of the UN cannot and should not be stopped from fully exercising their right to participate in UN matters.

The US Embassy in Suva imposed visa sanctions on members of the interim Government and the military following the 2006 overthrow of the Qarase Government.

The embassy explains that the"post-coup US visa sanctions remain in place, including on Ministers of the interim Government".

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum left the country two days ago to attend the conference for signatories to the United Nations Convention against Corruption.

He said his trip opens up the potential of getting assistance for the anti-corruption unit in Fiji.