WikiLeaks cable: GNZ to deliver strong points to Fiji's Bainimarama

Photo / Mark Mitchell
Photo / Mark Mitchell

November 23, 2006
GNZ to deliver strong points to Fiji's Bainimarama

date:2006-11-23T17:32:00
source:Embassy Wellington
origin:06WELLINGTON924
destination:VZCZCXRO7306 OO RUEHMJ RUEHPB DE RUEHWL #0924/01 3271732
ZNY CCCCC ZZH O 231732Z NOV 06 FM AMEMBASSY WELLINGTON TO
RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 3521 INFO RUEHSV/AMEMBASSY SUVA
IMMEDIATE 0534 RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA PRIORITY 4619
RUEHMJ/AMEMBASSY MAJURO PRIORITY 0095 RUEHPB/AMEMBASSY PORT MORESBY
PRIORITY 0614 RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY RHHMUNA/CDR
USPACOM HONOLULU HI PRIORITY RHEHAAA/NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL WASHDC
PRIORITY RHHJJAA/JICPAC HONOLULU HI PRIORITY
classification:CONFIDENTIAL
reference:06STATE190257|06WELLINGTON924

?C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 WELLINGTON 000924

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

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

NSC FOR V...

?C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 WELLINGTON 000924

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, FJ, NZ
SUBJECT: GNZ TO DELIVER STRONG POINTS TO FIJI'S BAINIMARAMA
REF: STATE 190257

Classified By: DCM David J. Keegan. Reasons: E.O. 12958, 1.4 (b) and (d).

1. (C) The GNZ MFAT has prepared strongly worded points, which it has passed to the British Defence Attache Nigel Lloyd (DA), who will convey them to Commodore Bainimarama at a private lunch with Bainimarama on November 23 at the DA's residence. (The points are repeated below at para 3). Foreign Minister Winston Peters, who had originally planned to deliver the points, will be unable to do so personally before November 24, as he will be on travel in Auckland.

2. (C) MFAT has also informed Poloff that they are approaching the President of the UN Security Council, UN Peacekeeping, the Secretary General of the Commonwealth, and the EU to encourage them to press on Bainimarama to abandon his stated plans to remove the Fijian government in early December. MFAT is also seeking the assistance of the British
DA's wife to emphasize to Bainimarama's wife that should there be a coup, the Commodore and she would no longer be able to travel to New Zealand to visit their grandchildren. MFAT indicates that GNZ's strategy is to focus on the consequences of a coup to both Fiji and to Bainimaramap personally.

3. (C) Begin talking points for Foreign Minister Peters's discussion with RFMF Commander Frank Bainimarama:

-- I gather you are down here on a private visit for your grand-daughter's first communion - a significant family occasion. I hope you enjoy your visit.

-- You have stated publicly that you are planning to make certain demands of the Fiji government when you get back, and that if those demands are not met that you will take steps to remove them on 4 December.

-- I would counsel you very strongly against taking such steps. You need to understand that there would be serious consequences if you do go ahead.

-- New Zealand unconditionally supports the rule of law, and the right of a democratically elected government to govern without coercion -- and there is no question that the Fiji government is democratically elected. We would not be able to stand back and let that happen without responding.

-- We would be obliged to take steps to underline our utter disapproval of any unconstitutional action and we would do so in close collaboration with our friends, the Australians, the British, the Americans and the region.

-- From a military perspective this would include suspension of all defence ties. That would include any training or assistance with peacekeeping activities, regionally and internationally. The MAP programme would be discontinued.

-- We would moreover encourage like-minded countries to take similar steps, and seek international condemnation of your actions, including in the UN Security Council and the Commonwealth. We would urge the Commonwealth and the Forum to take the strongest possible steps to register the unacceptability of such actions.

-- New Zealand's relationship with any government installed as a result of a coup would be correspondingly restricted.

-- You need to understand that if you do something stupid you will not be able to operate around the Pacific. Neither we, Australia, Britain nor the United States would be able to work with you, or offer any assistance.

-- Your reputation and that of the RFMF would suffer irreparable damage both within the region and as a participant in international peacekeeping operations.

Without the support and training of the Australian and New Zealand defence forces Fiji's deployment in international peacekeeping operations would become very difficult. WELLINGTON 00000924 002 OF 002

-- We are considering the level of our travel advisory in the light of the threats you have been making. Upgrading our travel advisory would have a significant impact on tourist flows to Fiji and significantly affect Fiji's economy.

-- There would also be personal implications for you and your family. We would ban you, as well as others associated with a coup, and possibly your family, from entering New Zealand.

-- The Government permitted your entry to New Zealand on the basis that yours was a private visit. That does not sit well with the public threats against the Fiji Government that you have been making since arriving in New Zealand. Consistent with the purpose of your visit we require you to make no further public statements during your stay.

End points.

4. (C) Embassy Wellington has sought to contact Bainimarama through his personal assistant Ben Naliva, who said Bainimarama is on "private leave and does not want to be disturbed." When told that Washington regards the conversation as extremely important and reminded that
Bainimarama has spoken to the NZ press so his visit is no longer private, Naliva said he would check. A half hour later he called to again say the Commodore was not available. Naliva did not answer any of our follow-up calls. Ambassador McCormick has discussed the matter with Minister Peters, who has admitted he's had trouble getting an appointment as well and encouraged us to be persistent. We continue to work with MFAT and our defense attache to identify a way to deliver reftel demarche to Bainamarama.

McCormick

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