7 Jun 2006

Fiji army commander says PM has promised there will be no cuts in army numbers

8:10 am on 7 June 2006

Fiji's military commander insists there will be no cuts in army numbers as proposed in a Defence White Paper.

The paper, which proposes cuts of almost 50% from 3,300 to 1,700, is due to go before the cabinet soon.

But the military commander, Commodore Bainimarama, has told the Fiji Sun that he is banking on the words of the prime minister that there will be no cuts.

Commodore Bainimarama says before last month's general election, Laisenia Qarase had promised that there would be no redundancies and the military would hold him to that promise.

The Fiji Sun says when asked last night about the promise, Mr Qarase said after a long pause that that was the stand.

When opening parliament yesterday, President Iloilo said the Defence White Paper would be the basis for the review of the future role of the military.