17 Feb 2007

Fiji's interim PM hits out at Australia and NZ

6:34 am on 17 February 2007

Fiji's interim prime minister has hit out at Australia and New Zealand for imposing travel bans and sanctions following the December 5th military takeover.

Commodore Frank Bainimarama says the two countries have even tried to get Fiji suspended and denied benefits from major international organisations.

He was referring to New Zealand's failed attempt to stop the United Nations from recruiting Fiji soldiers and Australia's failure to have Fiji suspended from the International Monetary Fund.

Commodore Bainimarama says when such positions are taken by Fiji's nearest neighbours who have benefited more from Fiji than Fiji has from them, it makes one wonder whether they are Fiji's friends or foes.

He says it could also be a case of the two countries being totally out of touch with the realities on the ground on Fiji, or it could also be simply bullying.

Meanwhile, the interim attorney general, Aiyaz Sayed-Khayum, says Fiji is moving towards democratic elections and the two countries should understand what led to December 5th.

Mr Sayed-Khayum says it is a pity that Australia and New Zealand have taken such a blinkered view of what is happening in Fiji and are closing the shutters.