22 May 2008

Australian diplomat in Fiji applauds leaders meeting, calls for more

1:58 pm on 22 May 2008

The Australian High Commissioner to Fiji, James Batley, is encouraging the Fiji interim leader, Commodore Frank Bainimarama, and the man he deposed in a coup 18 months ago, Laisenia Qarase, to hold further talks.

The duo met for the first time since the coup earlier this week.

They were reported to have discussed healing and reconciliation in a casual atmosphere, and announced their intentions to meet again.

Mr Batley told Radio Fiji that he congratulates both men for holding discussions and the leaders of the Catholic and Methodist churches for bringing them together.

"I wish that it happened six or nine months ago but certainly now that that first meeting has taken place I hope that further meetings do take place, and I note that both of those men have said that, so we think that's a very good start. ."

James Batley, the Australian High Commissioner to Fiji.

Mr Batley has been urging the interim Fiji Government to step up security at the High Commission after two recent death threats.