20 Jun 2007

Australian army would be invaders - Fiji military warns

6:38 am on 20 June 2007

Fiji's military has warned that any Australian peacekeeping troops arriving in Fiji would be regarded as an invading force and would face what an invasion force faces.

The warning has been issued by the Land Force commander, Col Pita Driti, in response to a statement by the chief of staff of the Australian army, Lt Gen Peter Leahy.

Gen Leahy told Australian radio that the situation in Fiji following December 5 was unstable and the Australian army had to have a plan to counter it by sending in peacekeeping forces in the near future.

Col Driti says the comment by Lt Gen Leahy is totally irresponsible.

He has told Radio Legend that the comments show the lack good intelligence Australia is getting from Fiji or they may be misinformed.

Col Driti says he would invite the Australians to come in but they would not be seen as a peacekeeping force but an invasion force and be treated accordingly.

The Australian high commission in Suva says it would be inappropriate to speculate on any future deployment.