13 Jul 2010

NZ says Fiji's expulsion of Australian diplomat unjustified

1:51 pm on 13 July 2010

New Zealand's Foreign Minister says Fiji's expulsion of Australia's head of mission to Suva is completely unjustified and counterproductive.

Murray McCully says he rejects any suggestion that pressure from Australia and New Zealand caused the collapse of the Melanesian Spearhead Group summit that Fiji would have hosted.

He says the claim is deeply insulting to Vanuatu's Prime Minister Edward Natapei who needed no help from New Zealand or Australia to work out that democratic principles should prevail within the region.

Mr McCully says the expulsion will diminish Fiji's standing, and further delay any recovery to Fiji's economy.

He says its a sign Fiji still does not place much value on the maintenance of diplomatic relations and dialogue.