9 May 2002

Fiji's Great Council of Chiefs is called on to serve all the country's citizens

5:20 am on 9 May 2002

Fiji's Great Council of Chiefs should be for all races, according to its re-elected chairman, Ratu Epeli Ganilau.

Ratu Epeli made the statement after the chiefs unanimously chose him to continue leading the body and extended his term to three years.

Radio Fiji quotes Ratu Epeli as saying he wants the Great Council to serve every citizen, not only indigenous Fijians.

He says he will work to take the Council into a position where all citizens can look upon it as a body which can look after their interests and give wise and meaningful advice to the government.

Ratu Epeli's comments followed expressions of concern by President Iloilo in opening the chief's meeting that politics had been allowed to harp on racial differences since the May 2000 coup.

Today the chiefs will discuss the harvest of Fiji's large mahogany forests on indigenous lands and plans to restructure the ailing sugar industry.