1 Nov 2006

Fiji military tells New Zealand PM not to interfere

5:22 pm on 1 November 2006

The Fiji military has warned New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark to butt out of Fiji's internal affairs.

The warning was in response to Miss Clark's calls for the military commander, Commodore Frank Bainimarama, to accept the decision of the country's government to sack him.

Miss Clark said the Fiji government was legitimately elected and appeared to have followed proper processes in its bid to oust the military chief.

But military's spokesperson, Major Neumi Leweni, has told the news agency Pacnews that Miss Clark should not interfere in the current standoff between the military and the government, as the Fiji army has the capabilities to deal with the situation.

Meanwhile, the New Zealand foreign minister, Winston Peters, has expressed New Zealand's deep concern at continued threats from the Fiji military commander against the democratically elected government of Fiji.

Mr Peters has urged Commodore Bainimarama and the military to respect their constitutional roles and the status of Fiji's elected multi-party government.

A New Zealand travel advisory says although the situation is currently calm, this could change with little warning.

It says in the event of the situation deteriorating, New Zealanders in Fiji are unlikely to be targeted but should take measures to avoid being caught up inadvertently in any violence.