12 Jul 2005

Show more leadership over military, Fiji government urged

3:10 pm on 12 July 2005

A former opposition leader in Fiji says the government should be showing more leadership in the dispute between itself and the military.

Mick Beddoes, who now heads the United General Party, says the prime minister, Laisenia Qarase, needs to sit down with the military commander, Commodore Frank Bainimarama, and try to resolve their differences.

The politician was speaking after the Fiji Times reported that the commander has threatened to arrest anyone who tries to destabilise the country, and that he won't let the Reconciliation Bill become law.

Mr Beddoes say he doesn't believe the military has overstepped the mark, by issuing the eight page document with the warning in it, in the circumstances.

"If it were a normal situation I would perhaps think yes, the military may be going too far, but the government is compromised in this issue because there are members of its own cabinet and its own government who are linked with the perpetrators of 2000."

Mr Beddoes says the government appears to be interested only in gaining indigenous Fijian support for the bill.