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IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
06SUVA477 2006-11-05 23:51:00 SECRET Embassy Suva
Cable title:  

FIJI MILITARY CASTS BLAME ON AUSTRALIA AND NEW

Tags:   PREL MARR ASEC CASC FJ 
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VZCZCXRO0073
OO RUEHPB
DE RUEHSV #0477/01 3092351
ZNY SSSSS ZZH
O 052351Z NOV 06
FM AMEMBASSY SUVA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 3412
INFO RHHMUNA/HQ USPACOM HONOLULU HI IMMEDIATE
RHHJJAA/JICPAC HONOLULU HI IMMEDIATE
RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA PRIORITY 1341
RUEHPB/AMEMBASSY PORT MORESBY PRIORITY 0941
RUEHRO/AMEMBASSY ROME PRIORITY 0014
RUEHWL/AMEMBASSY WELLINGTON PRIORITY 1126
					  S E C R E T SECTION 01 OF 02 SUVA 000477 

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

ROME PASS TO HQ MFO SINAI AMB. LAROCCO

E.O. 12958: DECL: 11/06/2016
TAGS: PREL MARR ASEC CASC FJ
SUBJECT: FIJI MILITARY CASTS BLAME ON AUSTRALIA AND NEW
ZEALAND; COUP PLANS REPORTEDLY CONTINUE

REF: A. SUVA 471 (AND PREVIOUS)


B. USDAO SUVA 051844Z NOV 06

C. SUVA 393

D. SUVA 401

Classified By: Amb. Dinger. Sec. 1.4 (B,D).

Summary
-------


1. (S) With RFMF Commander Bainimarama's return to Suva, the
Fiji Police reportedly have indications that coup planning
continues. RFMF senior officers are directing media attacks
at Australia, New Zealand, and Police Commissioner Hughes.
Vice President Madraiwiwi counseled dialogue in a Remembrance
Day address. A Great Council of Chiefs meeting is scheduled
for Thursday. The Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) was preparing
a Forum Ministers meeting for Friday until Qarase scuttled
that today. If a coup is to occur, timing remains unclear,
and we would not expect such an event to be directed against
U.S. citizens and interests. Bainimarama reportedly remains
unhappy with Amb. Dinger for speaking publicly in late
September to correct a misimpression the Commodore had left
with the media about the U.S. military view of proper
civil-military relations. Our Aussie and Kiwi colleagues
continue to query whether we will cancel the PACOM invitation
for Bainimarama to attend the CHODS in KL. End summary.

Bainimarama returns


--------------------------




2. (C) Commodore Bainimarama arrived back in Fiji early
Saturday morning, Nov. 4. He has been meeting with senior
RFMF leaders, but he has made no public statements since
then, leaving the media to the RFMF Deputy, Capt. (N) Teleni
and Land Forces Commander Lt.Col. Driti.

Raising doubts about Aussies and Kiwis


--------------------------




3. (S) It appears a concerted effort is under way to divert
media attention away from the RFMF and against New Zealand,
Australia, and Police Commissioner Hughes (an Aussie). Both
Australia and New Zealand sent small contingents of security
personnel into Suva late last week. The Aussies sent about
ten, mostly from the military; the Kiwis sent four from the
police. In public statements, the RFMF has accused the
newcomers of bringing in suspicious containers and evading
customs. In a press event on the weekend, Driti reportedly
suggested Australia is thinking of invading. He suggested
Australia "wants Fiji to fail and become a failed state so
that they can come in and dominate us." But, he said, the
RFMF will not accept any foreign intervention. We will stop
them." Driti said "it will be insane of them and will be
like declaring war."

Anger at Police Commissioner; request to resign


--------------------------

--


4. (S) Per Ref B, Bainimarama reportedly returned to Suva
angry at Commissioner Hughes and the police for investigating
him and for going public about the RFMF's removal of a
container of ammunition from the Suva wharf without a permit.
Hughes has said he will invite Bainimarama to a one-on-one
session this week to discuss the police investigations
against the RFMF and Bainimarama in particular. The RFMF's
Teleni has said publicly that the military will cooperate.
Actually, behind the scenes, Teleni sent Hughes a letter on
Nov. 3 asking him to resign, since, in the RFMF view, there
is no way Hughes, with first loyalties to Australia and with
prejudices against the RFMF, can conduct a fair
investigation. Teleni accused Hughes of bringing "ridicule"
to the RFMF.

Coup planning reportedly continues


--------------------------




5. (S) Reportedly Commissioner Hughes told a good source
today that police sources have indications RFMF coup
preparations continue, and several prominent persons have
been approached to take cabinet portfolios in an interim
government. Timing reportedly remains unclear. We continue
to expect that if a coup occurs it will not be directed
against U.S. people or interests in Fiji.

VP counsels dialogue at Remembrance Day; senior RFMF absent


--------------------------



--------------------------




6. (U) During a Remembrance Day ceremony in downtown Suva on
Nov. 6, Vice President Madraiwiwi acknowledged the current

SUVA 00000477 002 OF 002


tensions, urged all sides to recall lessons from the events
of 1987 and 2000, and counseled that dialogue is the
preferred course. He endorsed the Great Council of Chiefs
meeting scheduled for Thursday, Nov. 9. Police Commissioner
Hughes was in attendance, but senior RFMF officers were not.

Fiji puts off PIF Ministerial meeting


--------------------------




7. (U) We are told that the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF)
Secretariat today heard from PM Qarase that he is not

SIPDIS
prepared to seek a Forum Foreign Ministers meeting at this
time under the auspices of the Biketewa Declaration (see ref
A) to discuss the Fiji situation. The PIF was gearing up to
host that meeting on Friday, Nov. 10, but has now stood down.

The Commodore and the Ambassador


--------------------------




8. (S) In a recent Bainimarama conversation with the DG of
MFO Sinai (reported to us by e-mail) the Commodore reportedly
"railed" against Amb. Dinger, relating back to an incident in
late September (see refs C and D). At the time, the
Ambassador publicly corrected the record on U.S. views re
civil-military relations when Bainimarama reportedly told the
media he had been motivated to return to public criticism
against the Qarase Government by a U.S. military request at
the Pacific Armies Management Seminar (PAMS) for frank and
open discussion in that forum.

CHODS invitation: continued queries


--------------------------




9. (C) Our Australian and New Zealand colleagues asked again
today if the USG has decided on whether to rescind the PACOM
invitation for Bainimarama to attend the CHODS conference in
KL. He is scheduled to depart Fiji Saturday, Nov. 11.

Comment


--------------------------




10. (S) It remains possible that the reports of coup planning
are an elaborate RFMF information operation intended to
pressure PM Qarase to withdraw controversial bills and clean
up alleged corruption. Unfortunately, the Fiji Police, at
least, seem to believe the more likely explanation is that
the coup planning is for real.
DINGER