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NZ, Fiji expel each other's diplomatic envoys
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New Zealand on Tuesday retaliated to Fiji expelling its acting high commissioner by sending the Fijian high commissioner home.

Fiji's high commissioner in Wellington, Ponsami Chetty, would be on the first flight home, New Zealand TV3 reported.

The expulsion came just over an hour after news from Suva that New Zealand envoy Caroline McDonald was told at 05:00 p.m. (02:00 GMT) she had been declared persona non grata in Fiji.

The action against McDonald followed an announcement Monday night that she would not be expelled, and comments from the interim government that it wanted to improve its relationship with New Zealand.

Fiji interim Prime Minister Commodore Frank Bainimarama threatened last week to expel McDonald if a student visa was not granted to the son of a senior official in the president's office.

He was told last Tuesday it would not be granted.

New Zealand Prime Minister John Key indicated on Monday there would be retaliatory action if McDonald was expelled.

McDonald is the second NZ envoy to be expelled from Fiji in a year - Michael Green was declared persona non grata by the interim Government earlier this year.

(Xinhua News Agency December 23, 2008)

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