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Fiji Hostage Crisis Drags On

The hostage-crisis that never ends is set to last at least a little longer.

Hopes are fading for an early release after the military, led by Commodore Frank Bainimarama, returned to talks with Fiji coup leader George Speight this afternoon.

Earlier in the day both sides took an early lunch-time break to give Speight’s lawyers time to study the plan for the new government.

The military returned to talks at 3.00pm and the talks are still understood to be underway.

This morning there had been speculation the accord would be signed and Mr Speight’s 31 hostages, including former Prime minister Mahendra Chaudhry, would be freed. However there are still understood to be differences between the two sides to be hammered out about the future government and constitution.

The hostage crisis is now in it’s 34th day. Total secrecy is surrounding the talks. They are likely to end soon and be resumed tomorrow.

Following is a full transcript of an earlier story from www.fiji.live.com

Fiji Talks Continue

The military's negotiating team, led by Commodore Frank Bainimarama, has returned to Tui Vuda Ratu Josefa Iloilo's residence in Suva to resume talks with coup leader George Speight's team.

The meeting started early this morning.

However, the military team decided to take an early lunch break to give Speight's lawyers time to study the Accord that is expected to be signed today.

The draft Accord was put forward by the military.

It's believed that the Accord provides for the safe release of all hostages and the return of all firearms to the military in exchange for amnesty for Speight and his men.

Earlier on, Ratu Timoci Silatolu, who was first named PM and then Deputy PM by Speight, told the local television that they were still trying to sort out some matters.

This, according to him, includes the six vacant positions that will be created within the Great Council of Chiefs in the coming months and if the Interim Minister for Fijian Affairs will have any say in the appointment of the new members.

Both parties are optimistic that the Accord will be signed today.


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