20 Aug 2004

Fiji letter circulated to oppose Rabuka's diplomatic posting

2:47 pm on 20 August 2004

A letter has been sent to President Bush objecting to Fiji's nomination of the former prime minister and 1987 military coup leader, Sitiveni Rabuka, as ambassador to the United States.

The letter, widely circulated as an email in Fiji, says Mr Rabuka was "a terrorist and thug who forcefully removed a democratically elected government in 1987."

It says Mr Rabuka "should be in prison serving a sentence just like the offenders of the 2000 coup."

The Fiji Times quotes the foreign affairs minister, Kaliopate Tavola, as saying people are free to protest but it would not have an impact on the government's decision.

Mr Tavola said he could not speak for the United States government which has to approve Mr Rabuka's appointment before he can take up his post.

Earlier, Britain had turned down two nominations by the Fiji government for the high commissioner's post in London, reportedly on the grounds that the individuals were linked to the May 2000 coup. END