11 Sep 2007

Fiji interim PM accuses Australia of threatening military action

10:15 am on 11 September 2007

Fiji's interim prime minister and military commander has revealed that the Australian Defence Force threatened military action in the days before last year's coup.

Radio Legend reports that Commodore Bainimarama's revelation comes after the Australian foreign minister, Alexander Downer, said they never intended to use military force against Fiji.

Commodore Bainimarama said when he was in Sinai late last year he received a call from the chief of the Australian Defence Force, Air Marshall Angus Houston.

Commodore Bainimarama says in that call Air Marshall Houston threatened him with words to the effect that he was not to do anything that would make him pit his soldiers against Fijian troops.

Commodore Bainimarama says that was a threat involving a clear intention to send Australian defence forces to Fiji.

He says it was also evident in the days before the military takeover that Australian troops had some plans in the pipeline as shown by the crash of an Australian helicopter with SAS troops on board just outside Fiji waters.