Britain recalls its high commissioner from Fiji

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The Independent Online

Britain recalled its high commissioner from Fiji last night and suspended military contacts in protest at the deal struck with the coup leader, George Speight, to end the-eight-week siege of parliament.

Britain recalled its high commissioner from Fiji last night and suspended military contacts in protest at the deal struck with the coup leader, George Speight, to end the-eight-week siege of parliament.

Michael Dibben was summoned back to London from Suva, Fiji's capital, "for consultations," the Foreign Office said, stressing that the decision represented an unusually strong rebuke.

John Battle, a Foreign Office minister, said: "We are disturbed that the deal struck to secure the release of the hostages abrogates the 1997 constitution and leaves almost half the population of Fiji without democratic representation.The crisis for Fiji is not over".

Britain's move came as the the Australian government joined New Zealand in imposing sanctions on Fiji. Earlier, the rebel leader warned that the fragile calm which has returned to Suva would soon be broken by further unrest.

"I am predicting it. The fun is just beginning," Mr Speight said, after the announcement of a new cabinet lead by Laiseni Qarase, the favoured candidate of the Fijian military. "It will result in a backlash. I think some people are trying to do me in and they are going to meet some very strong resistance."

Mr Speight regards Mr Qarase as insufficiently committed to excluding from political power Fiji's ethnic Indian population - the principal aim of his 19 May coup

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