New Zealand expels top Fiji envoy: foreign minister | world | Hindustan Times
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New Zealand expels top Fiji envoy: foreign minister

world Updated: Nov 04, 2009 10:36 IST

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New Zealand has ordered Fiji's top envoy out of the country in response to a similar move by the Pacific country's military regime, Foreign Minister Murray McCully said on Wednesday.

"New Zealand's (foreign ministry) met with Fiji's acting head of mission in Wellington, Mr Kuliniasi Seru Savou, and told him he had been declared persona non grata and was instructed to leave New Zealand," McCully said.

The move followed the announcement by Fiji's military leader Voreqe Bainimarama that he was expelling the Australian and New Zealand envoys because of allegations over their treatment of Fijian judges wanting to travel to the two countries.

Australia and New Zealand have imposed travel sanctions on people linked to the Fijian regime.

McCully said New Zealand's acting head of mission Todd Cleaver had been formally informed Wednesday that he had to leave Fiji, prompting the tit-for-tat response by Wellington.

New Zealand and Fiji last year expelled each other's envoys and New Zealand's high commissioner Michael Green was expelled from Suva in 2007.

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

"We have had our ups and downs and unfortunately today they are down."

New Zealand and Australia have been at the forefront of international opposition to Fiji's military regime since Bainimarama toppled the elected government in a December 2006 coup.