15 Dec 2010

Fiji threatens to expel US ambassador

9:46 am on 15 December 2010

The Fiji interim prime minister, Commodore Frank Bainimarama, has threatened to expel the US ambassador, Steve McGann.

Commodore Bainimarama has told FBC News says the actions of Australia, New Zealand and now the US were hindering progress in Fiji.

He didn't elaborate but his latest comment comes after last week's revelations by Fiji that the US hadn't granted visas to Fiji officials, which Fiji says it will take up with the United Nations.

Earlier this week, Commodore Bainamarama questioned whether Mr McGann or the US secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, was lying by saying the US was committed to re-engaging with Fiji.

The visa issue prompted Commodore Bainimarama to tell the Fiji Sun newspaper that foreign affairs officials had summoned Mr McGann last weekend to express Fiji's concern.

Hours after he made the claim, the US embassy issued a statement to say Mr McGann had already been out of Fiji for more than a week.

Commodore Bainimarama then said it was reassuring that Mr McGann was briefing Washington on issues raised by Fiji.

Last month, Fiji deported a US executive without saying if he had broken any law but alleged he had interfered in Fiji's domestic affairs.