6 Nov 2006

Fiji government confirms giving permission for diplomatic missions to beef up security

7:49 pm on 6 November 2006

The Fiji Prime Minister's Office has confirmed diplomatic missions in the country have been given approval by Laisenia Qarase and the police commissioner to bring in added security personnel.

The chief executive of the Prime Minister's Office, Jioji Kotobalavu, has told Radio Legend that the clearance was given by the relevant authorities last week after requests from the diplomatic corps.

Mr Kotobalavu says overseas missions based in Fiji are entitled under the Geneva Convention to bring in their own security if they see the need for it.

He says he is not aware of the reported import of arms and ammunition but that would require the prior approval of the police commissioner.

At the same time, Commissioner Andrew Hughes says he has not asked for nor received any police reinforcements or equipment from Australia or New Zealand as claimed by the military.

Mr Hughes says he had nothing to do with the personnel who came to Fiji last Friday as they are in the country for the security of diplomats.

Meanwhile, the New Zealand prime minister, Helen Clark, says Mr Qarase, the police commissioner and the foreign affairs ministry were fully aware of the arrival of New Zealand police officers in Fiji.

Helen Clark says the Fiji military should mind its own business when it comes to security arrangements at the New Zealand high commission in Suva.

She says it is ridiculous of the military to expect to be consulted on routine security arrangements at diplomatic missions.