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US announces sanctions against Fiji coup leaders

The sanctions cover around 2.5 million dollars in primarily military-related aid and bar new economic assistance programs to Fiji

india Updated: Dec 20, 2006 15:04 IST

The United States suspended financial aid and weapons sales to Fiji on Tuesday and imposed travel bans on army commanders and other officials involved in a December 5 military coup against the Pacific nation's elected government, the State Department announced.

The sanctions cover around 2.5 million dollars in primarily military-related aid and bar new economic assistance programs to Fiji, the State Department said in a statement.

Under the measures, Washington suspended deliveries and sales of "lethal military equipment" to Fiji and banned the Fiji military from US-sponsored military exercises or conferences.

It also imposed visa sanctions on senior military officers and members of the army-installed interim government, barring them from visiting the United States.

In its statement, the US reiterated its condemnation of the coup led by army commander Frank Bainimarama and called on the military chief "to abandon his extra-judicial activities, withdraw completely from politics and restore Fiji's legitimate democratically elected government".

Fiji was suspended from the Commonwealth following the ouster of Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase and has also been hit by sanctions from Australia and New Zealand.