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US warns Fiji military against a coup attempt

US warns the armed forces of Fiji against carrying out a coup against the elected civilian government of the racially divided Pacific island nation.

india Updated: Nov 01, 2006 08:39 IST

The United States warned the armed forces of Fiji against carrying out a coup against the elected civilian government of the racially divided Pacific island nation.

The State Department said it was concerned by a recent deterioration in civilian-military relations in Fiji and threats by some army factions against the government of Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase and said a coup could trigger a cutoff in US aid to the country.

"We urge Fiji's military leadership to refrain from any actions that could be seen as a provocation or threat to the democratically elected government," State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said on Tuesday.

"As the United States has noted both publicly and privately to Fiji's military leaders, it is critical that the armed forces fully respect constitutional processes, the rule of law and the military's subordination to the lawfully elected leadership of the country," he said.

Australia has also said it is "very concerned" over the real risk of a military coup in the Pacific Island nation of Fiji, Foreign Minister Alexander Downer said on Wednesday.

The fears come amid threats by the military commander Voreqe Bainimarama to oust the government after it failed in a bid to push him out on Tuesday.

"We are very concerned about the possibly of a coup in Fiji," Downer told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, adding that warships were being prepared in case they needed to evacuate Australians from Fiji.

"We obviously hope very much that a coup doesn't go ahead but there is nevertheless a real risk that this may happen," he said as Prime Minister John Howard threw his support firmly behind Fiji Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase.