27 Nov 2006

NZ Foreign Minister confirms talks with Fiji military commander

11:35 am on 27 November 2006

New Zealand's foreign minister, Winston Peters, has held talks with Fiji's military commander, Commodore Frank Bainimarama.

But no details of the discussions, which were held on Saturday, are to be released.

Linda Skates reports.

"A spokesperson for Mr Peters says no details about what was covered in the talks will be made public as the situation remains tense and the Foreign Minister will be taking a low key approach."

He says the New Zealand government is on record as saying the military has no political role in a democratically elected government and stressing the fundamental importance of upholding the rule of law.

The talks were held amid concern that Fiji could face a coup as the commander continues to demand that the government stop all investigations into his activities and statements, get rid of the police commissioner, and dump controversial legislation.

The spokesperson for Mr Peters says there is the possibility of further talks, but they would have to be soon because Commodore Bainimarama, who's on a private visit to Wellington, is expected to return to Fiji tomorrow."

I'm Linda Skates

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade says people now considering taking a holiday in Fiji should reconsider in the light of the growing risk of a coup.

The Ministry updated its travel warning for Fiji over the weekend because of reports the Fijian army has called up more than a thousand military reservists.

And a spokesperson, Brad Tattersfield, says staff at the New Zealand High Commission in Suva have been moved to a safer location.

He says there are about 30 staff and dependents based at the High Commission, and a "fair" number have left.