10 Mar 2009

US critical of Bainimarama

1:57 pm on 10 March 2009

The United States is publicly critical of the failure of Fiji's interim prime minister Frank Bainimarama to hold democratic elections more than two years after staging a coup.

US Ambassador Steve McGann has told a gathering in Fiji it was "unfortunate" that democracy had not yet been realised in there.

In his address to a Fiji Muslim League event to celebrate the Prophet Mohammed's birthday, Mr McGann said religious freedom was vibrant and strong in the Pacific, but the reinstatement of democracy in Fiji was overdue.

Mr McGann said the US agrees with the Pacific Island Forum that "more than two years of rule by an unelected military government, with no clear timetable for the return of constitutional government by the people, for the people and of the people, is just not the way forward."

The elected government was overthrown by Commodore Bainimarama on 6 December, 2006. Its was the fourth coup in Fiji since 1987.