Fiji coup talks end without deal

Talks in New Zealand end with no sign of agreement to avoid a threatened coup.

Commodore Bainimarama has warned he willmove to "clean up" Fiji's government
Commodore Bainimarama has warned he willmove to "clean up" Fiji's government

With no apparent let up in tensions between the two men, Kofi Annan, the United Nations secretary-general, warned that a continuation of the crisis threatened to “damage Fiji’s international standing”.

In a statement released from his office in New York, Annan said he was “alarmed by the continued possibility of a coup against the legitimate government of Fiji”.

The capital of Fiji, Suva, was reported calm on Wednesday.

A day earlier a heavy troop presence was seen on the streets as 3,000 military reservists were called up to bases across the country.

Long-running feud

The feud between Qarase and Bainimarama goes back almost two years with the military commander accusing the prime minister of corruption. He is threatening to “clean up” the government if Qarase does not agree to a range of demands.

Qarase in turn has tried to have Bainimarama replaced, but failed to remove him last month after senior military officers rallied around their commander.

Before the meeting in Wellington, Bainimarama appeared to be sticking to his position, telling New Zealand’s Radio Tarana his stance was non-negotiable.

“It’s very simple. He comes with a ‘yes’ or a ‘no’ to our demands, full stop,” he said.

For his part, Qarase, in an interview with another New Zealand broadcaster, said he saw some room for manoeuvre.

However, he added that some of Bainimarama’s demands, such as dropping criminal charges against him and other officers, would mean the military was overruling other government bodies.

Such a position would be “a threat to our democracy”, he told New Zealand’s National Radio.

Source : News Agencies

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Fiji’s prime minister has held crisis talks with the acting military chief aimed at averting a fourth coup in the South Pacific nation in less than 20 years.

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