13 Jul 2010

Fiji accuses Australia of interference as it expels acting High Commissioner

1:48 pm on 13 July 2010

Fiji says its decision to expel Australia's acting High Commissioner is a result of reports she's been interfering with its internal affairs.

It says the Australian government has been working to undermine Fiji's sovereignty, culminating in a call to Melanesian leaders not to attend a summit which would have been hosted and chaired by Fiji.

Don Wiseman reports

"Fiji's foreign affairs minister Ratu Inoke Kubuabola says the expulsion of Australia's acting high commissioner Sara Roberts is regrettable, and comes after it relayed its concerns to her on numerous occasions. He says Ms Roberts has been engaging in unfriendly acts, undermining Fiji's economy, and the rapport between Pacific Island countries. The expulsion follows the deferment of a summit of the Melanesian Spearhead Group, by the group's current chair, the Vanuatu Prime Minister Edward Natapei. Fiji's interim prime minister Commodore Frank Bainimarama would have assumed the chairmanship of the group at the summit, and says Mr Natapei was pressured into the decision by Australia and New Zealand. But Mr Natapei says it's a collective decision, and the Melanesian group must continue to uphold the values of democracy and good governance."