11 Apr 2007

Australian government to allow visit by Fiji President for medical check up

10:01 am on 11 April 2007

The Australian government says it will allow Fiji's president, Ratu Josefa Iloilo, entry into the country for his regular medical check up.

After the December 5th military takeover, the Australian government banned entry by or transit through the country of all those who were part of the coup.

These include the military commander, Commodore Bainimarama, and all soldiers and sailors, members of the interim administration and their families and supporters of the coup.

But the Fiji Times quotes a spokesman for the Australian High Commission in Suva as saying they respect the "dignity and status of the office of the President and have nothing to add to their previous comment on the issue."

As Fiji soldiers are banned from entry into Australia, police officers will accompany President Iloilo when he goes for his medical review.

Meanwhile, the interim attorney general, Aiyaz Sayed-Khayum, says the travel bans imposed by the Australian and New Zealand governments are inconsistent.

He says in his case even his parents are banned from New Zealand while the children of others who are banned have been allowed entry.

Mr Sayed-Khayum says it is a paradox because while some are taking positions in the interim government for the sake of moving the country forward, these bans prevent and discourage others from doing their jobs to the best of their ability.