23 Oct 2003

Fiji prime minister rejects opposition mediation offer

1:26 pm on 23 October 2003

Fiji's prime minister, Laisenia Qarase, has rejected the opposition leader Mick Beddoes' offer to negotiate in the impasse over the formation of a multi-party cabinet

The Daily Post reports that Mr Beddoes had written twice to the prime minister offering to act as a mediator between Mr Qarase and Labour Party leader, Mahendra Chaudhry

But rejecting the offer, Mr Qarase told Mr Beddoes he had not attached any seriousness to the offer.

Mr Qarase told Mr Beddoes that his propensity to act on impulse and to make grand pronouncements without careful thought have encouraged many not to take him seriously.

Mr Qarase said he considered Mr Beddoes' offer a challenge to place his trust in a person who had publicly called him "useless and untrustworthy"

He said it is the prime minister who is vested with the constitutional power to decide on the size of the cabinet and select ministers.

Mr Beddoes says it is unfortunate the prime minister has rejected his offer.

The issue is to go to the Supreme Court.