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C'wealth suspends Fiji after coup

C'wealth panel suspends Fiji, pending restoration of democracy and rule of law in that country, reports Vijay Dutt.

india Updated: Dec 08, 2006 22:57 IST
Vijay Dutt

As expected Fiji was suspended from the Councils of the Commonwealth, pending the restoration of democracy and the rule of law in that country, by the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group which met at Marlborough House, London, on December 8, 2006.

The Secretary General Don McKinnon had convened an extraordinary session of CMAG to consider the situation in the Republic of Fiji Islands. In a communiqué following the meeting chaired by Dr Michael Frendo, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Malta, it was declared that ministers "unanimously and unequivocally condemned the military takeover of Fiji's democratically elected government, in total disregard of the authority of the Prime Minister and Parliament."

The Group agreed that the unconstitutional takeover constituted a serious violation of the Commonwealth's fundamental principles, as "enshrined in the Harare Commonwealth Declaration".

The Group also expressed support for the people of Fiji who it said had an inalienable right to a government of their choice through democratic means and asked for the restoration of constitutional rule and democratic government with immediate effect.

The Secretary-General was asked to remain "engaged and to deploy his good offices as appropriate and in consultation with the Chairperson of CMAG including the possibility of a mission to Fiji Islands to press for the immediate restoration of democracy".

Other Commonwealth member countries were urged to take "appropriate bilateral and multilateral actions to encourage Fiji's speedy return to democratic governance". Meanwhile the Group would monitor closely the situation in Fiji Islands.

The implications of such suspension would be: the exclusion of representatives of the military regime or nominees thereof, from participation at all inter-governmental Commonwealth meetings and in other inter-governmental Commonwealth activities including CHOGM.

Existing technical assistance would continue but there would be no new technical assistance to the military regime with the exception of assistance aimed at the restoration of civilian democratic rule.

First Published: Dec 08, 2006 22:57 IST