WASHINGTON (AP) _ The State Department said Thursday it is considering a range of punitive actions against the military leaders in Fiji who ousted the elected government in a coup two weeks ago.

Spokesman Philip Reeker said the actions being contemplated ``could have serious impact on Fiji's international contacts and on outside assistance.''

He declined to be more specific, adding that the administration is coordinating its response with other nations.

Reeker also condemned what he called the ``repugnant criminal actions'' of coup leader George Speight and his rebel companions, who continue to hold hostages in Fiji's parliamentary complex.

The hostages should be released immediately and unconditionally, he said.

``The United States opposes any unconstitutional change of government in the Republic of the Fiji Islands,'' Reeker said. ``The consequences of any such action would be substantial and detrimental to Fiji's standing in the international community.''