6 Nov 2006

Fiji military tells Australia to stay out

4:28 pm on 6 November 2006

Fiji's military has warned Australia not to even think about invading Fiji, adding that it will be insane of them.

The commander of Land Forces, Col Pita Driti, has told the Fijilive news website that it would be like declaring war and while's Fiji's army may be small, it is not frightened of Australia.

Col Driti says the military has already informed the Australian Defence Attache in Suva that Australian navy ships can come into Fiji waters to evacuate their nationals if necessary but only after the military had given them permission.

He says the military is the last bastion of law and order in Fiji and will not allow anyone to come between them and the performance of their duty.

Meanwhile, after Australia Federal Police have denied sending any officers to Fiji last Friday, the Australian Defence Force says the Australians who arrived at Nadi Airport secretly last Friday are most probably their personnel.

A spokeswoman is quoted as saying it is standard procedure to assign extra defence staff to their diplomatic missions in times of uncertainty.

Australia's foreign minister, Alexander Downer, has declined to say who they are, but says Australia needs people to assist with coordination and administration, and they obviously need some equipment.

He also says Australia's warships won't enter Fiji territory without being asked.