17 Jan 2008

Fiji's SDL explains council absence

6:45 pm on 17 January 2008

The President of Fiji's SDL party says it was with regret that he turned down the invitation to join the National Council for Building a Better Fiji.

About ten invited groups also turned down the invitation to join the Council which is responsible for drawing up the People's Charter for Change, Peace and Progress.

The Council's inaugural meeting went ahead last night with some 30 members present.

Ratu Kalokalo Loki says it was decided that until the legality of the interim administration had been established, his party would not join the Council.

He says he asked the interim prime minister, Commodore Frank Bainimarama, to meet his party leader, the deposed prime minister Laisenia Qarase to discuss the situation.

"I told him that I've turned down the invitation and I told him the reasons. I've asked him if there's a way if they can meet I will be glad to inform my party leader, and he said that the only way for them to meet is for the party leader to join the committee for the People's Charter."

The President of Fiji's SDL party, Ratu Kalokalo Loki