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Fiji coup: immediate and comprehensive sanctions required.

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Fiji Coup: Immediate Sanctions Required Laurie Brereton - Shadow Minister for Foreign Affairs

Media Statement - 27 May 2000

The Shadow Minister for Foreign Affairs, Laurie Brereton, today called on the Australian Government to announce Australian sanctions against Fiji without further delay.

"President Ratu Sir Kamisese Mara's dismissal of Prime Minister Mahendra Chaudhry and his Cabinet is illegal and unconstitutional", Mr Brereton said.

"The President's action is in fundamental breach of Fiji's Constitution, specifically Section 109 which provides that the President can not dismiss a Prime Minister unless the Prime Minister loses the confidence of Fiji's House of Representatives."

"George Speight is a political terrorist. His objective is to tear up Fiji's Constitution, to disenfranchise ethnic Indian Fijians who comprise close to half of Fiji's population, and to create a system of political apartheid."

"In making his decision to dismiss Prime Minister Chaudhry and dissolve Parliament, President Ratu Mara has capitulated to the rule of the gun and racial extremism."

"What is required is the immediate release of the hostages and restoration of democratically-elected government."

"Australia must apply the full weight of diplomatic, political, economic and sporting sanctions against Fiji and encourage other countries to do likewise."

"Fiji's political leaders must be told that they face international condemnation, isolation and economic disaster. They must told in the clearest possible terms that Fiji will become an international outcast."

"The Australian Government should move immediately to impose sanctions, and do so before Fiji's President installs an unconstitutional 'interim government'."

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