28 Sep 2002

Fiji PM and Labour Party leader issue joint statement on racism

9:11 am on 28 September 2002

Fiji's prime minister, Laisenia Qarase, and the Labour Party leader, Mahendra Chaudhry, have issued a joint statement foreshadowing better relations between their parties.

Racist comments by government members in the last session of parliament caused the Labour party to withdraw from informal "talanoa" talks on key issues with Mr Qarase and his SDL party

Now both leaders have met and agreed they will deal with members of their parties who make racist attacks.

While the prime minister has made no apology for remarks by his women's minister, Adi Asenaca Caucau, who compared Indians to grass taking up space, he has urged his members to exercise restraint and moderation in public comments on issues of race.

This development has raised hopes that the two leaders may be engaging in informal dialogue once again.