15 Jun 2005

Former Fiji cabinet minister says dialogue needed between government and military

4:00 pm on 15 June 2005

A former Fiji cabinet minister, Filipe Bole, says the military commander and the prime minister need to begin a dialogue to end a long stand-off.

Mr Bole was commenting after local media reports that the president had rejected a request from the Home Affairs minister to suspend the military commander, Commodore Frank Bainimarama, for insubordination.

This follows the commander speaking out publicly over his opposition to the government's Reconciliation bill.

A military spokesman confirmed that there had been discussions between the president and the commander but he said there's some confusion as to where the reporting lines begin and end.

Mr Bole says it's about time the stand-off was resolved.

"I think the whole problem in the stand-off is that the two are not getting together to talk. It's as simple as that. Somebody's recognised by law as the head of government and I think the initiative should be taken by him for a talk to take place."

Mr Bole says the prime minister, Laisenia Qarase, as head of the government should begin talks with the commander.