26 Feb 2009

Fiji says Samoa's criticism of post-coup regime goes too far

2:36 pm on 26 February 2009

Fiji's interim Prime Minister, Commodore Frank Bainimarama, says an attack on his regime by Samoa's Prime Minister, Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi, went too far.

Last week, Tuilaepa asked whether Commodore Bainimarama was sober when he claimed Samoa's position on Fiji was dictated by New Zealand.

He criticised Fiji for lying to Pacific leaders at the Pacific Islands Forum meeting last month in Port Moresby and he asked what the motive was for the lies.

Tuilaepa also told local media that Commodore Bainimarama had no intention of meeting the May 1st deadline to set a date for elections later this year.

He says he strongly believe that Commodore Bainimarama has no intention of relinquishing power and returning Fiji to democratic government.

But Commodore Bainimarama says the attacks are unpacific and unwarranted.

He says Fiji will never comment about any other country's leadership and expects at least the same level of reciprocity from a close neighbour such as Samoa.

But Commodore Bainimarama, who came to power at the point of a gun over two years ago, has been strongly critical of other Pacific leaders, including the current chair of the Forum, Niue's Premier Toke Talagi.