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New Zealand expels Fiji diplomat

2009-11-04 13:24 BJT

WELLINGTON, Nov. 4 (Xinhua) -- New Zealand on Wednesday declared Fiji's Acting Head of Mission in Wellington Persona Non Grata and asked him to leave New Zealand.

New Zealand took the action after its Acting Head of Mission in Fiji, Todd Cleaver, was formally declared Persona Non Grata by the interim government of Fiji on Wednesday and told to leave Fiji. New Zealand Foreign Minister Murray McCully confirmed it on Wednesday.

"As a result of that action, at 3 p.m. officials from New Zealand's Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade met with Fiji's Acting Head of Mission in Wellington, Kuliniasi Seru Savou, and told him he had been declared Persona Non Grata and was instructed to leave New Zealand," McCully said.

"As a result of the expulsion of Cleaver, and the impact this has had on the New Zealand High Commission in Suva, the High Commission is closed today. It will remain closed while we assess its capability to continue to carry out its main functions." he said.

"I absolutely refute allegations from Suva of any form of victimization of Judge Wati, which has been used as justification for the expulsion of Cleaver," he added.

McCully said the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade's travel advisory for New Zealanders visiting Fiji has been changed to reflect Wednesday's developments in Suva.

"New Zealanders traveling to Fiji should now be aware that the level of assistance the High Commission can provide to New Zealand citizens may be affected due to the depleted staff numbers," McCully said.

Editor: Zhang Pengfei | Source: Xinhua