13 Sep 2004

Fiji's Prime Minister denies extreme racism in his country

11:35 am on 13 September 2004

Fiji's prime minister says he does not believe there is extreme racism in the country.

Laisenia Qarase has told Radio Legend that while extreme racist comments may have been made by some members of the public, they belong to a minority group.

He says there are some extreme elements in the both the Fijian and Indian communities.

Mr Qarase says these are "only a small proportion of the population but the problem is they can do much more damage in proportion to their numbers."

He says the maintenance of law and order by the security forces and reconciliation efforts should always prevail to overcome this obstacle.

Mr Qarase says even though there are racial differences in Fiji and even conflict at times, the country has not gone to extremes.

Meanwhile, the Labour Party leader, Mahendra Chaudhry, is not expected to meet with Mr Qarase to reconcile their differences during reconciliation week next month.

Mr Chaudhry has been quoted as saying he is suspicious that the government's reconciliation week may be the SDL party's political agenda to attract more support.