16 May 2011

Tonga PM's statement says Kingdom doesn't want to interfere in Fiji's affairs

1:44 pm on 16 May 2011

A statement from Tonga 's Prime Minister, Lord Tui'vakano, says Tonga has no interest in interfering in Fiji's domestic affairs.

The statement comes as Fiji's interim Prime Minister, Commodore Frank Bainimarama, says a police investigation is underway into the escape to Tonga of Colonel Tevita Uluilakeba Mara.

Annell Husband reports.

"Lord Tu'ivakano's statement says Fiji's domestic affairs are its own and Tonga's government has no interest in bringing undue influence. It says there's a process to be followed with extradition orders and no obstacle will be placed before representatives of the Fiji government in court, nor will the accused be denied counsel or the right to reply. It points out that the Tongan legal system isn't subject to political influence by either the King or Cabinet Ministers and judges aren't encouraged to make decisions based on political beliefs. The statement ends by saying that it's an offensive breach of protocol to infer for political gain that the King's offer of hospitality to Colonel Mara equates to an offer of immunity."