4 Nov 2009

Australia's Foreign Affairs Minister remains open to working with Fiji

6:19 am on 4 November 2009

New Zealand and Australia's top diplomats in Fiji have been told to leave the country by 7 o'clock tonight.

Fiji's interim Prime Minister, Commodore Frank Bainimarama is accusing the New Zealand and Australian governments of interfering in the Fijian judiciary.

Last night, he ordered the two envoys to leave the country within 24 hours.

The Foreign Affairs Minister, Murray McCully, and his Australian counterpart, Stephen Smith, have been discussing the situation.

Mr Smith says he remains open to working with Fiji, if it moves back towards being a democracy.

"Its a dialogue that only proceed on the basis of Fiji showing some return to democratic processes and a military dictatorship affectively appointing at its own whim members of the judiciary is not a trapping of democracy, is not a trapping of the sort of democratic modern day state that Fiji should be."

Australia's Foreign Affairs Minister, Stephen Smith.

Murray McCully says the government will consider how to respond to the expulsion.