WikiLeaks cable: GNZ closely monitoring Fiji, may approach Bainimarama

Photo / Mark Mitchell
Photo / Mark Mitchell

November 21, 2006
GNZ closely monitoring Fiji, may approach Bainimarama

date:2006-11-21T03:04:00
source:Embassy Wellington
origin:06WELLINGTON912
destination:VZCZCXRO4600 OO RUEHPB DE RUEHWL #0912 3250304 ZNY CCCCC
ZZH O 210304Z NOV 06 FM AMEMBASSY WELLINGTON TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC
IMMEDIATE 3508 INFO RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA IMMEDIATE 4613
RUEHPB/AMEMBASSY PORT MORESBY IMMEDIATE 0613 RUEHSV/AMEMBASSY SUVA
IMMEDIATE 0533 RHHMUNA/CDR USPACOM HONOLULU HI IMMEDIATE
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC IMMEDIATE RHHJJAA/JICPAC HONOLULU HI IMMEDIATE
RHEHAAA/NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL WASHDC IMMEDIATE
classification:CONFIDENTIAL
reference:06WELLINGTON11|06WELLINGTON910

?C O N F I D E N T I A L WELLINGTON 000912

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

STATE FOR D (FRITZ), EAP/FO, EUR/RPM, AND EAP/ANP

NSC FOR VICTOR CHA

SECDEF...

?C O N F I D E N T I A L WELLINGTON 000912

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

STATE FOR D (FRITZ), EAP/FO, EUR/RPM, AND EAP/ANP
NSC FOR VICTOR CHA
SECDEF FOR OSD/ISD JESSICA POWERS
PACOM FOR J01E/J2/J233/J5/SJFHQ
E.O. 12958: DECL: 11/21/2016
TAGS: ASEC, PREL, PGOV, NZ, FJ
SUBJECT: GNZ CLOSELY MONITORING FIJI, MAY APPROACH BAINIMARAMA
REF: A. MCGANN/WELLINGTON 11/20 E-MAILS (NOTAL)
B. IIR 6 927 0027 07 (NOTAL)
C. WELLINGTON 910

Classified By: Ambassador William McCormick, for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d)

1. (C) Summary: GNZ is aware that Commodore Bainimarama told the U.S. DATT in Suva he will mount a coup in early December if GOF does not meet all his demands. NZ ministries are to review a list of possible GNZ responses if a coup takes place. They will also likely approach Bainimarama during his ongoing private visit to New Zealand. GNZ officials would appreciate being kept advised about possible USG responses to Bainimarama's threats and actions. End Summary.

2. (C) On November 21, Pol-Econ Couns discussed Bainimarama's threatened coup with Peter Heenan, Acting Deputy Director of the Pacific Division in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT) and Sonja Weinberg, Policy Officer in the Division. Both Kiwis had received a read-out from the NZ Mission in Suva about the US DATT's discussions with Bainimarama and the Commodore's claims that he would instigate a coup on December 4 if his demands to the Fijian Government were not met (Ref B).

3. (C) MFAT is taking Bainimarama's threats very seriously, Heenan said, noting that the Commodore was due to arrive in Wellington today to attend his granddaughter's first communion. (According to Heenan, PM Clark herself had approved the visit, having been asked by NZ officials to review the case due to the sensitivities involved.) MFAT has asked NZ's High Commissioner in Suva for his views on whether GNZ officials should contact Bainimarama while he is here, and what they should say. Heenan says he fully anticipates the High Commissioner will endorse the approach. MFAT is also considering asking the High Commissioner to contact Bainimarama's deputies while the Commodore is in New Zealand.

4. (C) NZ officials met last week to discuss possible GNZ responses to a coup or other change of Government in Fiji. The most serious measures would include the withdrawal of military assistance, termination of aid, and a withdrawal of NZ personnel. Ministries are currently considering the costs and benefits of all the various possible GNZ actions, given Fiji's importance for regional disaster relief, Pacific Island Forum activities, etc.

5. (C) Ministries will probably meet tonight or tomorrow to review the situation, Heenan said. He added that MFAT would appreciate being advised on any planned USG response to a coup and any other actions taken. (FYI: We have since told Heenan that Admiral Fallon and Ambassadors Dinger and McCormick will likely contact the Commodore in the very near future to tell him not to proceed with his plans. End FYI.)

McCormick

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