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Australia condemns Fiji move to expel top diplomat

Other News Materials 12 July 2010 19:02 (UTC +04:00)
Foreign Minister Stephen Smith condemned the Fijian military regime's surprise move Monday to expel Australia's top diplomat, DPA reported.
Australia condemns Fiji move to expel top diplomat

Foreign Minister Stephen Smith condemned the Fijian military regime's surprise move Monday to expel Australia's top diplomat, DPA reported.

Smith said the military regime told Australia's acting high commissioner in Fiji, Sarah Roberts, she would be declared persona non grata on Tuesday morning and given 24 hours to leave the country.

"It's unjustified and unjustifiable and it's deeply disappointing," Smith said.

Fiji expelled Australia's high commissioner last year, leaving Roberts as the main government contact with the regime.

But Smith said Australia would not retaliate as it was important Fiji had official representation in Australia to keep communications open with Commodore Frank Bainimarama's military regime.

Smith said Fiji claimed the move was due to Australian opposition to Fiji chairing an upcoming meeting of Pacific nations.

But he said he believed it was more due to Australian protests over moves to cut Australian media ownership in Fiji.

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