10 Jun 2011

Fiji hits out at neighbours over Mara

6:27 pm on 10 June 2011

The Fiji interim government has hit out at Australia, New Zealand and Tonga for the way the three countries have dealt with a former Fiji military officer, Lieutenant Colonel Tevita Uluilakeba Mara, saying the three subvert the path towards the holding of truly democratic elections in Fiji.

Col Mara, who was a co-conspirator of the 2006 military coup, fled to Tonga last month after being charged with sedition.

Tonga has issued him a passport and he has flown to Australia to attend a conference of Fiji pro-democracy advocates.

The Fiji interim government says it understands New Zealand will also grant him a visa.

It says it is apparent that Col Mara is a fugitive and political opportunist, who has taken advantage of the Australian and New Zealand foreign ministers' myopia on Fiji.

In a statement, the information ministry says the two ministers are driven by a neo-colonial and personal agenda, seeing Col Mara as someone who can give some form of credibility to their unfounded and misplaced assessment of Fiji and the rest of the South Pacific.

It also says that according to the outgoing Chinese ambassador in Suva, China respects Fiji's sovereignty, not like countries that continue to bully Fiji.