21 Nov 2006

Fiji military chiefs issues fresh ultimatum to government

5:27 pm on 21 November 2006

Fiji's military commander has issued a fresh ultimatum to the government to meet his non-negotiable demands within two weeks or face action by the army.

Radio Legend reports that Commodore Frank Bainimarama wants the government to drop its three controversial Bills and remove all those involved in the May 2000 coup from his government.

Speaking in the Fijian language, Commodore Bainimarama said his demands given to the prime minister have to be met, even if the Great Council of Chiefs mediation subcommittee has to ask Laisenia Qarase to give in.

He said the chiefs' committee and their group of advisors should step down if they cannot convince the prime minister to act according to the military's wishes.

Commodore Bainimarama said it was a waste of time and money to select a committee and a group of advisors as they would achieve nothing.

Commodore Bainimarama flew to New Zealand today.

The acting commander, navy Captain Esala Teleni, was tightlipped about the latest threats to the government.

"The only thing I can confirm is the RFMF hasn't changed any stance, we still maintain our stance. Right now I don't want to make any public announcement because we are now going through a lot of consultation in the process and I don't want to pre-empt anything."

Captain Teleni says the military plans to meet the mediation subcommittee for talks but he could not specify when.

He says there's no change in the military's demands, which include the removal of the police commissioner, Andrew Hughes, for his alleged involvement in the government's failed attempt to replace the military commander.