Heads Of Missions of Australia, New Zealand Given 24 Hours To Leave Fiji

The Heads of Missions of Australia and New Zealand based in Fiji have been given 24 hours to leave the country.

This follows reports of travel bans placed on members of Fiji's judiciary and Government.

In a press conference Tuesday, Prime Minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama also confirmed that Fiji's High Commissioner to Australia is being recalled immediately.

The decision comes after the PM met with the Chief Justice Anthony Gates in Suva late yesterday afternoon expressing concern over the actions of the governments of the two neighbouring countries.

Justice Gates in a statement on November 1 expressed disappointment at the manner in which Family Court judge Anjala Wati's urgent medical visa was rejected by the New Zealand High Commission in Suva.

The Commission reportedly rejected her visa after stating that she had accepted an appointment with the Fiji Government, reports AHN.

The Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd said that he aimed to continue his government’s hardline stance against Mr Bainimarama’s leadership in order to maintain stability in the South Pacific region.

“We're not about to simply allow a coup culture to spread,'' he told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

Mr Rudd added that Australia would not allow what has happened in Fiji to become “some sort of norm for the Pacific at large”, reports Times Online.

New Zealand's Foreign Minister Murray McCully said Fiji's acting head of mission, Kuliniasi Seru Savou, had been ordered out of the country in response to Suva's expulsion of top diplomat Todd Cleaver.

"Diplomatic relations with Fiji are roughly the same they have been for the last couple of years unfortunately," Mr McCully told reporters in Wellington.

"We have had our ups and downs and unfortunately today they are down," BBC News reports.

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