9 Feb 2005

Signs of reconciliation between Fiji army and government

11:08 am on 9 February 2005

The first signs are emerging in Fiji that relations between the government and the military may be on the mend.

The minister for home affairs, Josefa Vosanibola, had told the Daily Post his office has now received a request from the military for assistance in bringing home the controversial army officer, Lt Col Tarakinikini, who has been declared a deserter.

Mr Vosanibola says he appreciates the military's request and as the decision on Tarakinikini is also from the President's Office, his ministry has to respect it.

Mr Vosanibola says the military and the government have come a long way from the "bad days" and are trying to "cool it off."

The military spokesman, Captain Neumi Leweni, says it is encouraging to see Mr Vosanibola taking a positive stance on matters affecting the military.

Captain Leweni says the military is looking forward to a good relationship with the minister.

Earlier, the chief executive of the Prime Minister's Office, Jioji Kotobalavu, said the government would not help the military get Tarakinikini back because the commander, Commodore Bainimarama, had not followed proper procedures.