News Release

U.S. Department of State Washington, D.C. Nov. 30, 2006

The United States remains deeply concerned about the continued threat from the Commander of the Republic of Fiji Military Forces to unseat Fiji's democratically elected government.

Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Nicholas Burns called Fijian Prime Minister Qarase today to stress the United States' strong opposition to any extralegal attempts to change the government.

In his call to Prime Minister Qarase, Under Secretary Burns noted that the United States had stressed to Fiji's military leadership, both publicly and privately, that in line with Fiji's Constitution they must remain subordinate to the lawfully elected government.

He also stated that if a duly elected head of government is deposed by military coup or decree, U.S. law requires a cessation of certain U.S. assistance and that, as a matter of policy, the United States may decide to cease other assistance as well.

The U.S. position on this matter has remained clear and consistent throughout the recent civilian-military tensions.

Under Secretary Burns explained that the United States has no intention of becoming involved in Fiji's domestic politics. U.S. support lies with democratic institutions, not individuals, consistent with our strong belief that constitutional processes and the rule of law must be respected by all parties. These are the essential elements for Fiji's continued political and economic development

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