22 Sep 2010

Australia judge stands in as Fiji head of state

10:35 am on 22 September 2010

The Fiji interim regime says in the absence of the president, the country's Australian chief justice is the acting head of state.

The interim prime minister, Commodore Frank Bainimarama, has told FBC News that Justice Anthony Gates has assumed the role of Ratu Epeli Nailatikau who is on a 16-day tour that includes a nine-day China visit.

Commodore Bainimarama says he is yet to appoint an acting prime minister and an acting military commander before he heads to the United Nations in New York later this week.

The interim foreign minister, Ratu Inoke Kubuabola, is already in the US.

Another interim minister, who previously served as acting prime minister, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, is out of the country, attending a meeting in Switzerland.