|LEAKED CABLE: Amitav Banerji (middle)|
The Australian: A Commonwealth working group dithered over a decision to expel Fiji despite pressure from New Zealand, a leaked US embassy cable shows.
The June 2009 cable, part of a 250,000 document dump by WikiLeaks, records the frustration of Commonwealth Secretariat director of political affairs Amitav Banerji at the passing of a May deadline for the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group to decide whether to fully suspend Fiji.
Richard Mills, political counsellor at the US embassy in London, reported Banerji expressed his concerns that CMAG had not yet met to discuss Fiji.
Banerji said the Commonwealth's credibility could be damaged if it did not make a decision as promised. He said New Zealand strongly supported a move to suspend Fiji over the Frank Bainimarama-led junta's refusal to return the nation to democratic rule.
But Malaysia resisted the move because of concerns Fiji might unilaterally quit the Commonwealth, Mills said. Fiji was finally fully suspended in September last year.