3 May 2012

Fiji regime labels travel sanctions ridiculous

11:31 am on 3 May 2012

Fiji's Acting Prime Minister, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, says he hopes that countries like Australia and New Zealand know that their travel sanction policy against Fiji is ridiculous.

New Zealand imposed an indefinite travel ban on those involved in the 2000 coup and warned in 2006 that those contemplating yet another coup would see the ban applied to them as well.

After the Fiji military ousted the elected government in 2006, the sanctions were imposed on the new group of coupmakers and extended to non-military regime supporters.

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum has told local radio that many people still do not take up senior positions due to the bans.

Last month, the New Zealand foreign minister, Murray McCully, said the government was keen to promote a demilitarisation of the Fiji administration and would consider exempting civilians from the sanctions to replace soldiers in key posts.

He said it is something that would be considered on a case by case basis but the regime had not made any approach.