Australia treads carefully on Samoa crisis

·1-min read

Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne is treading carefully as a political crisis engulfs Samoa.

Fiame Naomi Mata'afa has been sworn in as the Pacific nation's first female prime minister, but her predecessor insists the ceremony was illegal and is refusing to hand over power.

Senator Payne refused to offer a view on whether the ceremony was legal and her leadership legitimate, saying the matters were before the courts and Australia would respect the process.

"The swearing-in, as it was described, that occurred on May 24 is one of those issues to be considered. There is an application to have that declared unlawful," she told ABC radio on Thursday.

"We are very good friends with Samoa and we hope very much we can see the rule of law and democratic processes play out and a resolution determined in the coming days and weeks."

Senator Payne said Australia had strong faith in the Samoan judiciary to resolve the constitutional crisis.

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