4 Nov 2009

NZ and Australia retaliate for Fiji expulsions

4:19 pm on 4 November 2009

New Zealand and Australia have retaliated for Fiji's decision to expel their top diplomats from Suva.

The New Zealand Foreign Minister, Murray McCully, has announced that Fiji's acting High Commissioner to New Zealand Kuliniasi Seru Savou has been declared persona-non-grata and must leave.

The Australian Foreign Minister, Stephen Smith, says Fiji's acting high commissioner, Kamlesh Kumar Arya, has been ordered to return to Suva.

Yesterday, the Fiji interim prime minister, Commodore Frank Bainimarama, announced his move after accusing the diplomats of misinforming Canberra and Wellington and waging a negative campaign against the government and people of Fiji.

The New Zealand diplomat, Todd Cleaver, is meant to leave Fiji tonight under the expulsion order, Mr McCully says he expects he will be given a reasonable period of time to organise his departure, as the Geneva Convention allows.