SUVA: Fiji's military leader Voreqe Bainimarama Tuesday expelled the Australian and New Zealand envoys over alleged interference in his country's judiciary.
"I have told the minister of foreign affairs to issue communications to the Australian and New Zealand governments that their respective heads of missions are to be recalled within 24 hours," Bainimarama said in a televised speech.
"I have also informed them our high commissioner (ambassador) in Australia is to be recalled with immediate effect."
Australia and New Zealand have been at the forefront of condemnation of Bainimarama since he toppled Fiji's elected government in a December 2006 coup.
Bainimarama accused both countries of "a consolidated effort to attack Fiji's independent judiciary" over alleged attempts to block judges travelling through Australia and New Zealand.
Both countries have issued travel sanctions on people associated with the military regime.
Bainimarama said the heads of Australia and New Zealand's diplomatic missions in Fiji had refused to engage with the government.
"They misinform Canberra and Wellington and wage a negative campaign against the government and people of Fiji," he said.
Australia later Tuesday branded the expulsion "regrettable" and "provocative", the Australian Associated Press (AAP) reported, quoting a spokesman from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
"In response to these developments, Australia will give careful consideration to the question of possible further measures against the Fiji regime," the spokesman was quoted as saying.
New Zealand Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully said the announcement followed a series of threats from the interim regime over recent days about the impact travel sanctions were having on members of the Fijian judiciary.
"The New Zealand government will now consider the appropriate steps to take in response to today's expulsion, and also assess the impact of this action on the already depleted resources in our Suva high commission," McCully said.
Fiji had previously declined to renew the positions of the police and defence attaches, he added.
This will be the third time New Zealand's top envoy to Fiji has been expelled since the 2006 coup.
Fiji and New Zealand expelled each other's ambassadors in December last year after Wellington's acting high commissioner Caroline McDonald was told she had one week to leave Fiji.
In 2007 New Zealand high commissioner Michael Green was expelled after Fiji accused him of interfering in local politics.
In the latest case, Bainimarama accused New Zealand of humiliating High Court judge Anjala Wati when she sought a visa to get medical treatment in New Zealand for her baby.
The visa was eventually granted but the regime says this only happened after the incident emerged in media reports, an allegation New Zealand denies.
Bainimarama also alleged a number of Sri Lankan judges appointed to serve in the Fijian judiciary had been told they would not be able to travel through Australia to take up their new jobs, an accusation denied by Canberra.
"The culmination of these incidents displays a consolidated effort to attack Fiji's independent judiciary," Bainimarama said earlier.
"It also shows that the Australian and New Zealand governments have been dishonest and untruthful over the matter of travel ban for judges.
"It is my government's duty to ensure that no foreign government should interfere with such judicial independence and integrity. We must always protect and be proud of our sovereignty."
Fiji was suspended from the 16-nation Pacific Islands Forum in May and from the Commonwealth in September.
International condemnation of Bainimarama increased in April after his government abrogated the constitution, sacked the judiciary and tightened media censorship after a court ruled the regime was illegal.