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Commonwealth suspends Fiji

The Commonwealth said yesterday that it had suspended Fiji after the Pacific island nation missed a deadline for opening talks on a return to democracy.

"This is an announcement I make with deep regret – it is a step the Commonwealth is now obliged to take, and one that it takes in sorrow," the secretary general, Kamalesh Sharma, said in a statement announcing Fiji's full suspension from the grouping. Fiji had already been suspended from Commonwealth meetings.

The new sanction means that Fiji is not eligible for technical assistance or Commonwealth sporting events.

In April, Fiji's President reappointed Frank Bainimarama as interim Prime Minister, less than two days after a court ruled his 2006 coup illegal.