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Fiji PM Urges CMAG To Understand Fiji Situation

Fiji PM Urges CMAG To Understand The Fiji Situation

"PM CRITICISES INTERVENTIONISTS ATTITUDES" - CALLS FOR UNDERSTANDING


PM URGES CMAG TO UNDERSTAND THE FIJI SITUATION

17th September 2000

"PM CRITICISES INTERVENTIONISTS ATTITUDES" - CALLS FOR UNDERSTANDING

The Prime Minister, Laisenia Qarase last night called for understanding from the international community for the situation in Fiji.

The Prime Minister criticised neighbouring countries for what he referred to as their "interventionist attitudes".

The Prime Minister stressed the role of the new Council of National Reconciliation and Unity in bringing the different communities closer together, including an agreement on National Leadership and power sharing.

He said there must be a resolution of indigenous Fijian concern about their future, if there is to be long-term peace and stability in Fiji.

"Fijians want to have a firm sense of control of their own political future.

"This is why they feel that national leadership positions of Prime Minister and Head of Government as well as President or Head of State must be in their hands," the Prime Minister said.

(END)

PM URGES CMAG TO UNDERSTAND THE FIJI SITUATION

This morning (NY time ­ Friday 15th September), the Prime Minister, Mr Laisenia Qarase assured members of the Commonwealth Ministerial Advisory Group (CMAG) that his Interim Administration was firmly committed to returning Fiji to constitutional parliamentary democracy within a 2-year period.

This includes the promulgation of a new Constitution by the end of August, 2001 and the holding of elections within 12 months.

Mr Laisenia Qarase also assured CMAG that the new Ministry for Reconciliation and Unity and its Council will be actively promoting the reconciliation of different communities, and in particular the two major ethnic groups ­ Indian and Fijian.

According to the Prime Minister, the conciliation process will also contribute to the peaceful resolution of the political crisis by developing and promoting inter-communal understanding on national leadership and power sharing.

In addition, Mr Qarase assured that although the Constitution will be a new one, the fundamental freedoms and rights of individuals and groups in the 1997 Constitution will be fully maintained.

However, the crux of the political crisis in Fiji was the feeling of insecurity and uncertainty of indigenous Fijians about their political future. Therefore, the new Constitution has t address these fears if it is to be enduring and lasting.

Mr Qarase said he appreciated the perspective of CMAG members in addressing the imperative of an early return to a democratically elected government. He appealed to them however, to try to understand the particular circumstances in Fiji.

The Fiji situation is a complex issue warranting its own solution. The Constitution Commission that will shortly be appointed will be representative of the ethnic communities in Fiji and will fully engage in interactive nationwide consultations. Care will be taken to ensure a comprehensive consultation process with all levels of Fijian community. It will not be limited to the GCC and Provincial Councils. Consultation will be taken down to Tikina and village levels.

-End-


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