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Fiji criticises Australia of 'cocktail diplomacy', calls for sanctions relief

Published on Feb 12, 2014 9:47 AM

SUVA, Fiji (AFP) - Fiji accused Australia on Wednesday of engaging in "cocktail diplomacy", calling on Canberra to instead make meaningful reforms such as lifting sanctions against the coup-plagued South Pacific nation's military regime.

Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop is due to start a two-day visit to Fiji on Friday as part of a Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) delegation examining how the regime's plans to hold elections in September this year are progressing.

Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum said travel sanctions introduced by Canberra continued to restrict the ability of Fijian officials to visit Australia even when they were on legitimate business with no political implications.

Sayed-Khaiyum said he would complain to Bishop about the restrictions, which were imposed in 2009 when ruling military strongman Voreqe Bainimarama reneged on a pledge to hold elections after seizing power in a coup three years earlier.

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