Tue, Jun 19, 2007 - Page 4 News List

New Zealand set to impose further sanctions on Fiji

AP , WELLINGTON

New Zealand will impose further sanctions against Fiji early next week after the military regime expelled Wellington's top diplomat, Prime Minister Helen Clark said yesterday.

New Zealand imposed broad-ranging sanctions following the December coup in Fiji led by Commodore Frank Bainimarama, including halting all aid funneled through Fiji's government. Clark gave no details of any new sanctions, saying they would be decided by the Cabinet next week.

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Bainimarama told New Zealand High Commissioner Michael Green to leave the country last Thursday, accusing him of interfering in Fiji's domestic affairs. New Zealand has rejected the allegation.

"Fiji's provocative act makes it clear it should not be business as usual" between Fiji and New Zealand, Clark said.

She said that all aspects of her country's relationship with Fiji would be examined before deciding on the new set of sanctions to be imposed.

"What we will be looking at is what is the most effective way of driving home to Fiji that it needs to mend its behavior and take steps back to constitutional government," Clark said.

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Shortly after the Dec. 5 coup, New Zealand imposed restrictions -- including halting all aid passing through the Fijian government, freezing defense links, banning visas for anyone associated with the coup and their families and halting some sports links.

Clark said Fiji had also been excluded from a program allowing Fijians to enter New Zealand to do annual seasonal work.

New Zealand will again approach the UN to point out "the great irony of Fijian personnel being deployed to troubled countries" on peace and security work "when their own country ... does not enjoy peace and security at this time."

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