WikiLeaks cable: New Zealand increases sanctions on Fiji

Photo / Mark Mitchell
Photo / Mark Mitchell

December 6, 2006
New Zealand increases sanctions on Fiji

date:2006-12-06T04:46:00
source:Embassy Wellington
origin:06WELLINGTON966
destination:VZCZCXRO7273 OO RUEHMJ RUEHPB DE RUEHWL #0966/01 3400446
ZNY CCCCC ZZH O 060446Z DEC 06 FM AMEMBASSY WELLINGTON TO
RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 3574 INFO RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA
IMMEDIATE 4642 RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON IMMEDIATE 0152 RUEHMJ/AMEMBASSY
MAJURO IMMEDIATE 0105 RUEHPB/AMEMBASSY PORT MORESBY IMMEDIATE 0626
RUEHSV/AMEMBASSY SUVA IMMEDIATE 0548 RUEHBN/AMCONSUL MELBOURNE
IMMEDIATE 0082 RUEHDN/AMCONSUL SYDNEY IMMEDIATE 0485 RHHMUNA/CDR
USPACOM HONOLULU HI IMMEDIATE RHHJJAA/JICPAC HONOLULU HI IMMEDIATE
RHEHAAA/NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL WASHDC IMMEDIATE RUEKJCS/OSD
WASHINGTON DC IMMEDIATE
classification:CONFIDENTIAL
reference:06CANBERRA1940|06WELLINGTON938|06WELLINGTON951|06WELLINGTON966
?C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 WELLINGTON 000966

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 000966

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: 12/06/2016
TAGS: ASEC, PGOV, PREL, FJ, NZ
SUBJECT: NEW ZEALAND INCREASES SANCTIONS ON FIJI
REF: A. CANBERRA 1940
B. WELLINGTON 951
C. WELLINGTON 938

Classified By: DCM David Keegan, for reasons 1.4(b) and (d)

1. (U) Summary: At 4:45 pm on December 6 local time, Prime Minister Helen Clark and Foreign Minister Winston Peters announced stringent new sanctions "in response to the Fijian Military's unlawful seizure of power." In a public statement, Clark and Peters said the Cabinet had approved the measures that morning. They also said, "These measures are
designed to reflect New Zealand's abhorrence of the actions taken by the Fijian military...They must cease their disgraceful acts and restore the legitimately elected government, or suffer the consequences of their grossly illegal acts."

2. (C) The measures announced are more extensive and stringent than those Deputy Foreign Secretary Alan Williams outlined to us earlier and may reflect political pressure from the public to take significant action. Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT) Pacific Islands Director Heather Riddell told the Wellington diplomatic corps today that the GNZ will continue to consider further measures.
End Summary.

2. (U) Begin text of new measures:

Bilateral Contact

-- Ministerial contact with any purported new government in Fiji will not take place, unless it is for dialogue and mediation purposes.

-- Members of any purported new Fijian government will not be permitted to travel to New Zealand.

Immigration Matters

-- The ban announced yesterday on senior RFMF officers and their families traveling to New Zealand will be extended to include all members of the RFMF and other individuals connected with supporting the coup.

-- Such individuals already legally in New Zealand will not be able to extend their permits.

-- Fiji's participation in the new Recognized Seasonal Employer scheme will be frozen with immediate effect. (Fiji is to be excluded from this scheme which is designed to help Pacific Island Forum members gain better access to seasonal work opportunities in New Zealand.)

-- No applications from Fijians for entry to New Zealand for seasonal work will be accepted from today.

-- The eligibility of Fiji's citizens to take part in future immigration ballots under the Pacific Access Quota has been suspended. (This will not affect those who have been selected from previous ballots, provided they apply for residence by 11 January 2007.)

Defense Matters

-- All Fijian military officers currently in New Zealand, studying or training in New Zealand are being asked today to leave. (They will have a reasonable period of time to do so.)

-- Fijian military officers currently training with the New Zealand military will not be able to participate in any activities associated with that training, with immediate effect, pending their departure from New Zealand.

Sporting Matters

-- Fijian sports teams and Fijian sports people at all levels will be banned from coming to New Zealand for the purposes of sport, unless international sporting and legal obligations require otherwise. (For example, where New Zealand is hosting an international sports tournament where we are legally obliged to accept international participants, it will not e legally possible to ban their entry, subject to them meeting other immigration requirements.)

-- Discussions will be held with New Zealand sporting organizations scheduled to attend international tournaments WELLINGTON 00000966 002 OF 002 in Fiji, and the organizers of such tournaments (such as the
2007 Netball World Cup), to assess the safety of participants and the scope for seeking alternative venues.

Development Assistance

The Government has decided to:

-- Freeze any new development assistance initiatives which provide assistance to or partner with the government in Fiji, and review current such activities.

-- Discontinue the awarding of new government managed scholarships and training.

-- Review and reconsider New Zealand's assistance to the Fiji Electoral Office.

-- Suspend the Fiji public sector's eligibility for training initiatives under regional governance programs.

-- Review planned support for people in squatter settlements, with a view to assessing the scope for providing such assistance through NGOs and relevant regional agencies, rather than through the Fiji government.

International/Regional Diplomacy

New Zealand will work with the Pacific Islands Forum, Commonwealth, UN and like-minded countries to explore what further steps can e taken in response to the coup. These include (but are not limited to):

-- Taking forward the discussion held among Forum Foreign Ministers, at their special meeting in Sydney, last Friday on whether Fiji, under a military-led illegal government, can continue to hold the position of Forum Chair.

-- Reassessing the role the Fijian military has hitherto played in protecting peace and democracy abroad, given that those same troops have removed their own government from power.

End text of new measures

3. (U) The new sanctions come on top of three measures announced yesterday: 1) imposing travel bans on senior RFMF officials and their families; 2) discussing with Commonwealth Secretary Don McKinnon (a Kiwi and former NZ Foreign SIPDIS Minister) the likelihood that if the coup was not stopped Fiji would be suspended from the Commonwealth; and 3) suspending bilateral defense ties with the exception of maritime patrolling, disaster relief, and search and rescue activities.

4. (U) Clark has also appeared on a number of media programs since Commodore Bainirama's December 5 press conference. Minutes after the conference, she called Bainimarama "clearly deluded," and chastised him for claiming he was protecting the law when he clearly was actually breaking it. On a TV interview on December 6, Clark said she had tried to phone and text PM Qarase but could no longer get through. She also said there was no direct threat to New Zealanders, "but it's
the equivalent of a holiday in hell to go to a place where the military are strutting the streets and proclaiming a coup." (New Zealand strengthened its travel advisory on Fiji on December 5.)

5. (C) Comment: The measures announced are more extensive and stringent than those Deputy Foreign Secretary Alan Williams outlined in his December 5 DVC with EAP/ANP Director McGann. Williams also noted the Cabinet was urging Clark to take the strongest possible measures, while Clark was hesitant not to be seen as implementing sanctions that would
declare Bainimarama the victor even as she continued to insist Qarase was still in charge. After the DVC MFAT contacts observed it would be impossible for GNZ to resist political pressure from the public to take significant action. End comment.

McCormick

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