17 May 2011

Ratu Tevita Mara urges NZ and Australia to bring down Fiji regime

6:40 pm on 17 May 2011

A former senior Fiji military officer, Ratu Tevita Uluilakeba Mara, says New Zealand and Australia should show themselves to be regional powers and bring down Fiji's military regime.

Ratu Tevita is in Tonga after being picked up by the Tongan navy and the Fiji interim government is seeking his extradition on a sedition charge.

In an interview with the Australian news agency AAP, he called on Australia's Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd to cut all aid to Fiji and to seriously consider telling Australians not to holiday there.

Ratu Tevita says sanctions and cutting off Fiji haven't done nearly enough to hurt the regime and he's asked what Australia and New Zealand are waiting for.

The two countries' foreign ministers have been focused on pushing Fiji towards democratic elections which the interim government has promised to hold in 2014.

But Ratu Tevita says there has been real talk within the ranks that elections will not happen.

Earlier, the New Zealand Prime Minister John Key said Wellington would continue to monitor the latest situation but had no plans to get involved at this point.