18 Jul 2005

Fiji military reveals apparent government plan to replace Bainimarama

7:43 pm on 18 July 2005

Fiji's military says it has come to know of the Qarase government's plans to replace its commander, Commodore Bainimarama, with an Australian.

The military spokesman, Captain Neumi Leweni, has told Radio Fiji the government is wrong to think that the military does not know of its plans.

Captain Leweni says they are aware that the government has been in talks with the Australian government to have its military provide a replacement for Commodore Bainimarama.

Captain Leweni has questioned how the government could think of such a move as Commodore Bainimarama still has a few more years of his contract left to go.

He says this move has only widened the rift between the military and the government.

Captain Leweni says only time will tell what the military will do if the government's plan materialises.

At the weekend, the Australian government issued a warning to Commodore Bainimarama that it was not proper of the military to threaten to remove a government in a democracy.

The standoff between the military and the government is over the controversial Reconciliation and Unity Bill.

The Bill will set up a Commission to fast track amnesty for coup convicts like George Speight, erase their criminal records, give immunity to those not yet prosecuted and ask the courts to suspend proceedings against those facing charges.