21 Dec 2006

Fiji coup leader reportedly welcomes proposed immunity deal

9:51 am on 21 December 2006

Fiji's military commander is reported to have welcomed a proposal before the Great Council of Chiefs to recommend immunity for the military in return for handing over executive authority to the ousted president, Ratu Josefa Iloilo.

The proposal also includes the resignation of the deposed prime minister, Laisenia Qarase, the dissolution of parliament and the formation of a civilian Interim Government of National Unity.

Commodore Frank Bainimarama is reported to given the proposal a cautious welcome.

But he says it will have to be the military, and not the chiefs, which will decide when to hand over power to an interim government.

Commodore Bainimarama says it will have to be according to the military's timetable.

Radio Legend quotes other senior military officers as saying they will hand over executive authority to Ratu Josefa Iloilo after all mechanisms which the military has proposed are put in place.

The senior officers say they want to highlight the numerous corrupt practices in the previous government and set up appropriate measures now, or nothing may be done when the interim government is set up.

The radio report says the timeframe the military is looking at could be a few months but may be as soon as the end of January if all the measures implemented.