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Fiji suspended from the Commonwealth

The Commonwealth has fully suspended the South Pacific Island of Fiji after it failed to meet a deadline to set a 2010 election date, according to a statement released late on Tuesday from London.

world Updated: Sep 02, 2009 08:02 IST
DPA

The Commonwealth has fully suspended the South Pacific Island of Fiji after it failed to meet a deadline to set a 2010 election date, according to a statement released late on Tuesday from London.

Commonwealth Secretary-General Kamalesh Sharma said the decision was made with deep regret and sorrow.

"Following the military overthrow of civilian government in December 2006, sustained efforts have been made by the Commonwealth to engage the interim government, so as to promote a return to constitutional democracy," Sharma said.

The failure by Fiji's military commander and interim prime minister Voreqe "Frank" Bainimarama to commit to credible elections, meant his country had been suspended, effective immediately.

The Commonwealth's deputy secretary-general, Masire Mwambe told Radio New Zealand that Fiji would not be able to participate in intergovernmental meetings at a head-of-government or ministerial level.

Technical assistance has been suspended, and Fiji is not allowed to participate in the Commonwealth Games.

New Zealand Foreign Minister Murray McCully, who sits on the Commonwealth's ministerial action group, told Radio New Zealand that his country's current sanctions against Fiji's regime would not change.

Last week, Bainimarama told Radio Australia that his regime would not budge from the 2014 election date he has set.

Fiji is now the second country to be suspended from the Commonwealth, after Nigeria.