6 Jun 2002

Fiji Minister denied entry visa to United States

10:24 am on 6 June 2002

Fiji's minister for lands, Ratu Naiqama Lalabalavu, has been denied a visa to enter the United States.

The Fiji Times quotes Ratu Naiqama as saying he does not know why he has been denied a visa.

But he says the matter is under discussion between the Fiji and United States governments.

Ratu Naiqama heads the pro-coup Conservative Alliance Matanitu Vanua Party which has been pressing for the complete pardon and freeing of coup front man, George Speight.

Speight was also a member of the party and won a seat in last year's general election but lost it again when he could not attend parliamentary meetings because of his detention.

The Fiji Times says it is believed Ratu Naiqama was blacklisted because of his association with the Conservative Alliance.

The American blacklist is understood to be based on similar lists of Fiji people associated with the coup prepared by the New Zealand and Australian governments.