8 May 2007

Fiji's interim administration is recalling all politically appointed diplomats

7:22 am on 8 May 2007

Fiji's interim administration is recalling all diplomats who are considered to have been politically appointed by the deposed Qarase government.

The regional news agency PACNEWS reports that those being recalled are Fiji's ambassadors to the United States, China and Japan and the high commissioners in Australia, New Zealand, Malaysia and Papua New Guinea.

The ambassador in China, Col Jeremaia Waqanisau, was posted to Beijing after he was involved in a high level row with the military commander at a time when the Qarase government was trying to remove Commodore Bainimarama.

The recall will also see the return from Japan of Ratu Inoke Kubuabola who admitted in an interview published in 1988 that Sitiveni Rabuka's first coup in 1987 was planned in the office of the South Pacific Bible Society of which he was then general secretary.

Another diplomat to be recalled is the high commissioner to the Malaysia, Ratu Epeli Kanaimawi, whose appointment by the Qarase government last year generated a lot of controversy because of his support for the Reconciliation and Unity Bill.

The permanent secretary for foreign affairs, Ross Ligairi, who sent the letters recalling the diplomats, says career civil servants who are diplomats in Brussels, London and India will not be affected.

Mr Ligairi says the replacements for those being recalled will be made by the interim administration.