14 Jun 2007

Fiji expels New Zealand high commissioner

12:52 pm on 14 June 2007

New Zealand's High Commissioner to Fiji, Michael Green, has been expelled by the interim regime.

This has been announced by the New Zealand's Foreign Minister, Winston Peters, who says the New Zealand government deplores the action.

He says expelling diplomats is not the way for neighbours to conduct their relationship and there will undoubtedly be consequences for Fiji, as the action will be viewed very seriously by its international partners.

And Mr Peters says he's puzzled by Fiji's timing, given New Zealand had acknowledged the recent lifting of emergency regulations as a positive step.

Mr Green has been speaking out publicly against the coup in December.

He is also a member of the joint working group set up by the Pacific Islands Forum and the interim administration which was put together to work out how the country could be returned to democracy as soon as possible.

That group appointed a team which assessed that Fiji could hold elections as soon as November next year despite claims by the interim administration that it would not be able to do so before 2010.