Fiji stops short of expelling New Zealand envoy

December 17th, 2008 - 6:22 pm ICT by IANS  

Wellington, Dec 17 (Xinhua) New Zealand Wednesday said the Fijian government had not carried out a threatened expulsion of its envoy to Suva over Wellington’s travel ban on Fijians, adding that it would try to resolve the issue “costructively”.The Fijian government, in an accelerating diplomatic crisis, last week threatened to expel New Zealand’s acting high commissioner Caroline McDonald unless a visa was granted to a Fijian student and son of a senior official in Suva.

Foreign Minister Murray McCully said he had received Wednesday a letter from Fiji’s interim prime minister Frank Bainimarama which set out “very firm views” of the Fijian government over some issues but there was no action by Suva on its threat to expel McDonald.

“As things stand at the moment our high commissioner is still at her post and I have no word to the contrary. I’ve had no advice at all on the status of the high commissioner,” the New Zealand Press Association quoted him as saying.

McCully said he would continue to “work constructively” to resolve the issue and would reply to the letter Thursday.

McCully spoke to Bainimarama over the telephone Tuesday after a formal message was sent to the Fijian leader telling him that a visa would not be granted to George Nacewa, the son of Rupeni Nacewa, secretary in the office of the president.

That would breach the travel sanctions New Zealand imposed on Fiji soon after Bainimarama ousted its elected government in a coup two years ago, the foreign minister said.

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