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Bainimarama must honour his commitments - Peters

Bainimarama must honour his commitments, says Peters

Commodore Bainimarama must honour his promise to Forum Leaders that elections will be held in accordance with Fiji's current constitution and laws, by March 2009, Foreign Minister Winston Peters said today.

"It is difficult to understand his reported comments to EU representatives today that an election might be delayed in order to first put in place changes to the electoral system," Mr Peters said.

"It is an extremely serious matter that the Commodore appears to be willing to turn his back on commitments he made to Forum Leaders in Tonga last year.

"His comments also raise basic legal and constitutional issues that should concern everyone who wants to see a legitimate government restored in Fiji.

"The interim government came to power after a coup, and it is impossible to see how it can implement significant electoral or constitutional changes, given such changes must be adopted by a legitimate parliament.

"It is therefore hard to see how the kind of changes the Commodore is talking about could come about by anything other than extra-legal means.

"Our message is that the interim government's role should be to prepare the ground for a return to legitimate rule as soon as possible. We recognise that an election will not provide a solution for all of Fiji's problems, and there needs to be further free and open political dialogue.

"All political parties in Fiji need to take part in that dialogue, without the preconditions and pre-cooked solutions being pushed by the current regime.

"The political dialogue efforts that the Commonwealth have been pursuing over recent months may hopefully offer some promise here."

Mr Peters said he hoped that he and other members of the Forum Ministerial Contact Group on Fiji would have the opportunity to discuss the current situation with the interim government and other groups in Fiji next month, with a view to assisting the interim government meet its Forum commitments.

ENDS

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