10 Jun 2005

Fiji president declines to suspend military commander

2:40 pm on 10 June 2005

Fiji's president, Ratu Josefa Iloilo, has rejected a government recommendation that he suspend the military commander, Commodore Frank Bainimarama, for insubordination.

Radio Legend reports that senior government officials have confirmed that the home affairs minister, Josefa Vosanibola, wrote to President Iloilo on Monday asking him to suspend the commander for disobeying orders by making public statements against the government.

Mr Vosanibola told the radio station today from his home on Ovalau Island that he did write a letter to the president about the actions of Commodore Bainimarama but refused to reveal its contents.

Mr Vosanibola said he visited the president at Government House and they discussed issues but everything was entirely up to the president because that was his prerogative.

Government officials say President Iloilo, in his capacity as Commander-in-Chief of the military, called a meeting with Commodore Bainimarama and informed him of the government's stance.

President Iloilo told Commodore Bainimarama he would not be suspended.

Commodore Bainimarama is reported to have briefed his senior officers of the outcome of the meeting.