8 Dec 2004

Fiji military boss says President's door always open

3:25 pm on 8 December 2004

Fiji's military commander has stressed that no one can stop him from meeting President Iloilo because the head of state is also the commander-in-chief of the military.

Commodore Frank Bainimarama told Radio Legend from Australia today that he can meet the president any time if it concerns a national security issue.

Commodore Bainimarama was responding to recent criticism from the government about his meeting with President Iloilo on the appointment of a new vice president.

Commodore Bainimarama says he has a direct line to the president because he is the person responsible for the country's security.

He says members of the public will be the first to blame the army is there are any security threats as he and his men will be the first ones on the streets to protect Fiji.

Commodore Bainimarama says he has an excellent relationship with the home affairs minister, but revealed that for the last three years he has not been invited to attend any meeting of the National Security Council which is chaired by the prime minister.

He has not even been asked to give advice on national security matters.

Commodore Bainimarama says certain individuals and organisations are still trying to block the investigations and court cases of people facing charges for the May 2000 coup.

He says a delegation from the Assembly of Christian Churches had visited the army's strategic headquarters in 2002 and requested the military to stop all the courts martial of soldiers for their involvement in the coup and two mutinies.

Commodore Bainimarama says he will not let anyone stop the investigations and court cases because he wants to ensure that all those who took part in the 2000 crisis are held accountable for their actions.