18 Jul 2005

Don't let Fiji simmer, Suva Opposition leader warns Australia

3:49 pm on 18 July 2005

Fiji's Opposition leader, Mahendra Chaudhry, says Australia shouldn't allow current political discontent in Fiji to simmer.

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade in Canberra says it's 'regrettable' that Fiji's military commander has threatened to topple the government.

And, Australia's foreign minister, Alexander Downer, describes the debate on Fiji's Reconciliation and Unity Bill as an 'internal matter' for the country.

Fiji's Opposition leader, Mahendra Chaudhry, has always opposed the Bill, which may result in the release from jail of those who kidnapped him as prime minister in 2000.

Mr Chaudhry suggests Australia is now neglecting Fiji.

"To let this thing simmer, to not be critical of a government which is trying to bring about legislation to condone this kind of criminal conduct, I think is tantamount to neglecting or ignoring the responsibilities Australia has in the region."