27 Sep 2006

Fiji military wants apology from US ambassador

3:17 pm on 27 September 2006

Fiji's military has called for an apology from the United States ambassador in Suva, Larry Dinger, for his comments against their commander, Commodore Frank Bainimarama.

Mr Dinger said this week that Commodore Bainimarama must not attempt to involve the military in politics and must never challenge the powers of an elected civilian government.

Commodore Bainimarama had criticized three government Bills saying they would return Fiji to grass skirts, canoes and cannibalism, and added that he was motivated to speak by the commander of US troops in the Pacific, Lieutenant General John Brown.

Mr Dinger said Commodore Bainimarama had misunderstood General Brown.

The military spokesman, Major Neumi Leweni, has told Radio Legend that an inaccurate newspaper report had prompted Mr Dinger's comments and he should apologise to Commodore Bainimarama and to the US military.

Major Leweni says the military's stance on the Qoliqoli Bill was not influenced by General Brown as claimed.

Major Leweni says the military stands firmly by what it believes because racially divisive Bills will not move the country forward but drag the Fijian people backwards.