24 Dec 2008

Fiji's interim attorney general gives reasons for expulsion of Caroline McDonald

9:35 am on 24 December 2008

Fiji's interim Interim Attorney General, says his government ordered the expulsion of New Zealand's acting High Commissioner because she had been acting inappropriately in Fiji.

Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum declared Caroline McDonald Persona Non-Grata by yesterday.

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum says Fiji acted because Ms McDonald had not been acting like a diplomat.

"The High Commissioner has been completely disengaged with the government of Fiji, she has been actively involved for example in trying to undermine efforts of the government by only working with or engaging with opposition members or those individuals opposed to the government."

Fiji's interim Attorney General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum.

New Zealand immediately retaliated to the Fiji decision by ordering Fiji's interim High Commissioner in Wellington, Cama Tuiloma, to leave the country.

The Labour Party leader Phil Goff says Fiji's government had no good cause to expel New Zealand's acting High Commissioner from the country.

Mr Goff, who is a former Foreign Affairs Minister, says the Government here was left with no options other than the one it took in expelling Mr Tuiloma.

Meanwhile, the Foreign Minister here, Murray McCully, says there's no truth to the accusation that New Zealand's acting High Commissioner was in breach of her diplomatic obligations.

The reality for the diplomatic representatives in a place like Fiji at the moment is that they do not have much contact with the interim regime, they tend to go about their work with contact with other political parties, community leaders and so on, but in the nature of some what difficult relationships that exists there is not a lot of contact between the interim regime and our High Commissioner.

The Australian government has condemned Fiji's decision to expel New Zealand's acting high commissioner just hours after Fiji announced Australia's South Pacific defence adviser would also be similarly booted out of the country.