30 Nov 2006

Fiji's prime minister says more talks are likely with country's Commander

10:13 am on 30 November 2006

Fiji's Prime Minister, Laisenia Qarase, has said more talks are likely between the country's army commander to try to resolve the ongoing impasse between the Government and the army.

Reports from Fiji say the capital has returned to normal and locals are relieved, after an overnight military excercise in defiance of government ended without incident.

Armed soldiers set up roadside checkpoints and patrols marched through Suva setting off illumination rounds from midnight to 3am, in an excercise they say was to prepare for foreign intervention.

A reporter from Radio Fiji, Shelvin Chand, says the military have warned they're ready if foreigners try to invade their nation.

"He says last night was a very stressful time for locals as people were anxious at the end of the day as the countdown to midnight started, because people were thinking this could be another takeover because this could be the military's way of a cover up to takeover, but as soon as the excercise was over everybody had a sigh of relief and the feeling is that everything will go back to normal."

Calls are mounting in Fiji against any form of foreign intervention during the current stand off between the military and the government.

The NGO Coalition on Human Rights has called on President Iloilo to speak out against any regional intervention.

Its chair, Virisila Buadromo, says Fiji's democracy and democratic institutions must be protected against any foreign armed intervention.