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Commonwealth suspends Fiji

Commonwealth suspends Fiji

The Commonwealth on Friday suspended Fiji following a military coup in the South Pacific nation, the group's secretary-general said.
"The Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group 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," Secretary-General Don McKinnon said.
"The group agreed that the unconstitutional takeover constitutes a serious violation of the Commonwealth's fundamental principles."
The action group included ministers from Canada, Malta, Lesotho, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, St. Lucia, Sri Lanka, Britain and Tanzania.
Fiji's military commander, Commodore Frank Bainimarama, announced Tuesday he had taken control of the country from the elected government in the South Pacific nation's fourth coup in two decades.
This is the third time in 20 years that Fiji's membership in the Commonwealth of Britain and its former territories had been suspended following coups.
The suspension means Fiji cannot participate in Commonwealth meetings of ministers and government leaders, until it restores democracy.
The Commonwealth also suspended future technical assistance programs to Fiji that have helped the country with law revisions, debt management, World Trade Organization negotiation and trade.
McKinnon said the group hoped for a quick return to democracy and remained skeptical of the prospects for lasting peace under the military regime.
"Just because this was a bloodless coup, it doesn't always remain that way," McKinnon said.
Fiji was suspended from the Commonwealth in 1987 following a coup led by Lt. Col. Sitveni Rabuka. It was readmitted in 1997 after Rabuka made a formal apology to Queen Elizabeth II.
Fiji was again suspended in 2000 after Bainimarama declared martial law and abrogated the 1997 constitution. It was readmitted in 2001.
The 53-nation Commonwealth and its former territories suspended Pakistan from its decision-making councils after Gen. Pervez Musharraf seized power in a coup in 1999. It was readmitted in 2004.
Nigeria was suspended from the Commonwealth in 1995 after military ruler Gen. Sani Abacha executed playwright and activist Ken Saro-Wiwa. It was restored as a member in 2000 after democracy returned.
The Commonwealth suspended Zimbabwe in 2002 to protest election violations, and the country dropped out of the organization the following year.
The Commonwealth represents some 1.8 billion people, nearly a third of the world's population, and brings together rich G-8 countries such as Britain and Canada with small African, Pacific and Caribbean nations.
The club also makes up roughly a third of the 148-nation WTO and its heads of government summits have been seen in the past as important forums for steps to resolve trade issues ahead of formal WTO meetings.
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On the Net:
http://www.thecommonwealth.org


Updated : 2021-10-26 08:01 GMT+08:00