12 Jul 2005

Outgoing US ambassador to Fiji wades into military row

6:48 pm on 12 July 2005

The departing US ambassador to Fiji, David Lyon, says it's unfortunate that the Fiji military has been forced to enter the debate on the Reconciliation and Unity Bill.

In a speech yesterday (Tues) to the American Chamber of Commerce in Fiji, Mr Lyon said the military's involvement in the debate was regrettable in principle.

However, he said the military's concern for the preservation of law and order, and the rule of law, was understandable.

Mr Lyon said he wanted to make it very clear that extra-constitutional action against a duly-elected democratic government, for exercising its constitutional powers in proposing a Bill to Parliament, was unacceptable.

The Fiji military commander, Commodore Frank Bainimarama, says through its Reconciliation and Unity Bill, the government is forcing the country into the same anarchy it faced in 2000.