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Indo-Fijian leaders want government of unity

* See Pasifik Nius items 2955, 2954, 2952

USP Pacific Journalism Online: http://www.usp.ac.fj/journ/ USP Journalism on the Fiji crisis (UTS host): http://www.journalism.uts.edu.au/archive/coup.html USP Pasifik Nius stories on Scoop (NZ): http://www.scoop.co.nz/international.htm Have your say: http://www.TheGuestBook.com/vgbook/109497.gbook

SUVA: Indo-Fijian leaders have defiantly rejected any move towards a review of Fiji's 1997 multiracial constitution and unanimously called for a "government of national unity" formed by elected members of the deposed Parliament.

And they resisted threats by the military and police to call off their summit yesterday in a Nadi hotel, according to news reports.

About 70 prominent leaders from political, social, religious and cultural groups met at the summit to discuss the crisis and possible solutions.

The group included representatives of the major Indo-Fijian supported political parties, the Fiji Labour Party and the National Federation Party.

The Sunday Post said the meeting formed a new umbrella Indo-Fijian group called the Fijian Indian Summit.

Chairperson Dr Biman Prasad said the President, Ratu Josefa Iloilo, would be formally asked to ensure that a government of national unity be established without delay.

The forum expressed "strong opposition" to the drafting of a new constitution, saying any amendment must be done within the framework of the 1997 document.

The summit also called on all Indo-Fijians to boycott the military-backed interim administration's planned constitution review.

"The summit is of the belief that no useful purpose would be served as far as Indo-Fijian participation is concerned in the proposed Constitutional Review Commission since this whole process appears to be a fait accompli," Dr Prasad said.

"It calls upon all Fijian Indian organisations and individuals who may be invited to serve on the poposed constitution commission to decline participation."

The Sunday Times said the summit went ahead in spite of threats by the military and police to stop it.

The military's commanding officer in the west, Lieutenant-Colonel Henry Manulevu, had warned earlier that the meeting would be stopped.

"Initially, two police special branch officers and army personnel were not allowed into the meeting along with reporters," said the Sunday Times.

"The police officers told the organisers that if the meeting was to proceed, they should sit in.

"This was later agreed to."

+++niuswire

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