9 Nov 2006

Fiji military tells chiefs council it will not attend unless bills are dropped

8:04 pm on 9 November 2006

Fiji's military says Commodore Bainimarama will only attend tomorrow's session of the Great Council of Chiefs if the government drops three controversial Bills it objects to.

Radio Legend reports that the military took this stand after a delegation from the Great Council visited the military camp this afternoon to invite Commodore Bainimarama to attend Friday's session so the chiefs could hear his side of the story.

The military spokesman, Major Neumi Leweni, says the delegation was told that Commodore Bainimarama will only attend of the three Bills are dropped.

But the prime minister, Laisenia Qarase, told the chiefs earlier in the day that he will not drop the Bills because the proposed legislation had been endorsed by the Great Council and the indigenous Fijian people.

Mr Qarase convened the meeting of the Great Council of Chiefs to try and resolve the impasse between the military and the government after a failed attempt last week to have Commodore Bainimarama replaced by a subordinate officer, Col Meli Saubulinayau.

The military has now launched a board of inquiry into that attempt.