30 Nov 2006

UN Security Council calls on Fiji's military to exercise restraint

11:22 am on 30 November 2006

The United Nations Security Council has expressed concern about a possible a coup in Fiji and has urged its military to peacefully resolve its differences with the government.

Peruvian Ambassador, Jorge Voto-Bernales says Council members are calling on the Fiji military to exercise restraint and avoid taking any action which would undermine the rule of law and run counter to the best interests of the people of Fiji.

He says the 15-nation council supported all efforts, whether in Fiji or by its regional and international partners, to bring about a peaceful and lasting resolution of current political differences according to Fiji's constitution.

Fears of a fourth coup in Fiji in 20 years intensified after New Zealand-brokered talks between Fiji Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase and his defiant military chief, Commander Frank Bainimarama, broke up on Wednesday without apparent resolution.

Commodore Bainimarama has repeatedly threatened to remove Mr Qarase's elected government unless it drops several pieces of controversial legislation, including a bill that would grant amnesty to those involved in a coup in 2000.

Fiji has suffered three coups since 1987.

Commodore Bainimarama was almost killed in a failed but bloody mutiny linked to the 2000 coup and blames Qarase for being soft on those behind the coup.