26 Jul 2004

Fiji President calls for resolution of long standing disputes

9:00 pm on 26 July 2004

Fiji's president has called on the country's two major political leaders to resolve the longstanding land, sugar and constitutional disputes.

Radio Legend says President Iloilo made the appeal when opening a new session of parliament.

Addressing a joint sitting of the House of Representatives and the Senate, he called on the prime minister, Laisenia Qarase, and the Labour Party leader, Mahendra Chaudhry, to resolve the three issues which are of profound importance to the country.

President Iloilo called for speedy reform of the sugar industry following the European Union's expressed intention to reduce the preferential prices it pays for Fiji sugar.

He said he was renewing his last year's appeal that the government needed to introduce new arrangements for expiring leases on indigenous land which would be beneficial both to landowners and tenants.

On the multi-party cabinet dispute, President Iloilo said its resolution was of crucial importance to Fiji's continuing progress as a nation.