14 Apr 2007

Diplomats in Suva deny claims of inciting army to mutiny

8:09 am on 14 April 2007

The United States embassy and the British and Australian high commissions in Suva have denied allegations that their top diplomats tried to incite a mutiny in the army to overthrow the military commander, Commodore Bainimarama.

The allegations have been made by the Land Force commander, Col Pita Driti.

Col Driti says the US ambassador, Larry Dinger; and the British high commissioner, Roger Sykes, and his then Australian counterpart, Jennifer Rawlinson, visited the military camp a few days before the December coup.

He says the three tried to persuade him to remove Commodore Bainimarama because of reports of an imminent coup.

But in a joint statement, the three diplomatic missions in Suva says the purpose of the November 28th visit was to discuss the stand-off between the between the military and the government and to warn the military of the consequences of a coup for Fiji.

They say there was no attempt to incite mutiny.

But Col Driti says he stands by his allegations that the three top diplomats asked him to remove Commodore Bainimarama.