Fiji expels New Zealand high commissioner

June 14, 2007 at 7:06 AM

CANBERRA, Australia, June 14 (UPI) -- New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark condemned a decision by Fiji to expel her country's high commissioner, Michael Green.

Clark, who is visiting Australia, told reporters that Green had been declared "persona non grata" by the government of self-appointed Prime Minister Commodore Frank Bainimarama, who seized power in a coup in December.

Green had "represented faithfully the position of the New Zealand government and I suspect that is the reason why he is being sent home," she said.

Australian Foreign Affairs Minister Alexander Downer said he was dismayed at the Fijian action.

"If the so-called interim government in Fiji thinks that the next best thing for it to do is to start expelling diplomatic representation from Fiji, I can only advise them that will be extremely counter-productive," Downer said.

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