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WELLINGTON, New Zealand (February 9, 2001 – Evening Post/PINA Nius Online)---Fiji military commander Commodore Frank Bainimarama is in Wellington for heart treatment he cannot obtain in Fiji, The Evening Post newspaper reported.

In Suva, Radio Fiji reported Commodore Bainimarama yesterday was out supporting the Fiji sevens rugby team in a parade through Wellington.

New Zealand Foreign Affairs Minister Phil Goff said Commodore Bainimarama was not on the government's "blacklist" of people who took part in last year's coup in Fiji. There were no other reasons why he would be refused entry into New Zealand, Goff was quoted by the Evening Post as saying.

The New Zealand government was not meeting any of Commodore Bainimarama's expenses during his private visit to New Zealand for medical treatment, which is not available in Fiji, Mr. Goff said in a statement.

The Evening Post reported that Commodore Bainimarama was receiving treatment for a heart condition and was due to leave during the weekend.

Commodore Bainimarama is widely regarded as having played a positive role in actions taken against rebel leader George Speight and the restoration of stability in Fiji after the coup there last May, Mr. Goff said.

Late last year he was the target of an unsuccessful armed mutiny by extremists wanting to replace him as commander of Fiji's armed force.

Mr. Goff said he would contact Commodore Bainimarama to outline the government's expectations of the Fiji interim government response to an upcoming appeal against a court ruling that the 1997 constitution overthrown in the coup is valid.

"The commander is on record as declaring that the Fiji military forces will uphold the law and respect the judgment handed down by the Court of Appeal when it decides the appeal," he said.

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