Alexa
  • Directory of Taiwan

Fiji leader gives ground to military commander threatening coup

Fiji leader gives ground to military commander threatening coup

Fiji's prime minister announced a range of concessions Thursday aimed at pulling his country back from the brink of a coup, following threats by the South Pacific island's military chief.
Prime Minister Laisensia Qarase said in a news conference broadcast nationally that the government would suspend work on contentious proposed legislation _ including one that would grant pardons to conspirators in a 2000 coup _ opposed by military commander Commodore Frank Bainimarama.
Qarase also hinted the government would welcome a decision by state prosecutors not to charge Bainimarama for his recent comments against the government _ something police have said they are ready to do following a sedition investigation.
Fiji police chief, Australian Andrew Hughes, was on leave and his position would be reviewed, Qarase said. Hughes' removal was one of Bainimarama's key demands.
Qarase met with Bainimarama in New Zealand on Wednesday to end the longrunning political crisis. He said his statements Thursday reflected the outcome of those talks and urged Bainimarama to respond quickly in the interests of restoring stability.
If Bainimarama accepts Qarase's statements as going far enough in meeting his demands, the immediate threat of a coup appeared to have eased.
Bainimarama did not immediately respond.
"Any concessions I have given are within the law," Qarase said, adding that they were "in the interests of peace and stability."
Bainimarama and Qarase have been in an often bitter dispute for almost two years, and the commander has repeatedly threatened to force the government out if Qarase doesn't accede to a range of demands.
Bainimarama has been an outspoken opponent of three pieces of government legislation: one offering amnesty to the plotters of a 2000 coup, another that hands coastal land ownership in the multiethnic country to indigenous Fijians, and a third granting compensation for land owners.


Updated : 2021-10-22 15:57 GMT+08:00