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Fiji: statement by coup leader.

Fiji: Statement By Coup Leader


Laurie Brereton - Shadow Minister for Foreign Affairs


Media Statement - 19 May 2000


Fiji's so-called interim government is completely illegitimate and has no legal standing," the Shadow Minister for Foreign Affairs, Laurie Brereton, said today.


"Fijian coup leader George Speight's claim to exercise executive powers over Fiji must not stand. His characterisation of his actions as a 'civil coup' cannot obscure the criminality of an armed seizure of power."


"The so-called interim government is totally illegal and unconstitutional and must receive no international recognition."


"Australia must demand the immediate release of Prime Minister Mahendra Chaudhry and the restoration of his democratically-elected Labour Government."


"In the event that Fiji's military and police fail act in support the rule of law and democratic processes and the coup is allowed to succeed, Australia will be duty bound to review and downgrade our ties with Fiji."


"Major elements of Australia's bilateral relationship with Fiji include a substantial aid program with $22.3 million allocated for 2000-2001, an extensive defence cooperation program including support for three Pacific Class Patrol Boats, and the Import Credit Scheme which was extended by Foreign Minister Downer and Industry Minister Minchin only yesterday.


Authorised by Geoff Walsh, 19 National Circuit, Barton ACT 2600.