4 Jun 2009

Fiji regime blames Methodist leaders for church conference ban

6:24 pm on 4 June 2009

A spokesman for the Fiji government says its decision to defer the annual conference of the Methodist Church stands because church leaders have given no assurance they will remain silent on political issues.

Methodist leaders failed to get the conference reinstated after talks with members of the interim government.

The permanent secretary for information, Lieutenant Colonel Neumi Leweni, said the church did not get back to the government about its proposal for the conference.

He confirmed the proposal asked the church to stop engaging in political debate and rein in its leaders who have spoken out against the regime.

"The ball is in their court. They were the ones who started all this up. If they hadn't made all those political agendas that would come up in the conference, none of this would be happening. If they had of done what we proposed last Saturday or yesterday the conference would be on."

Lieutenant Colonel Leweni says the Pacific Youth Festival and the Asia Pacific Institute for Broadcasting Development conference will go ahead.