Fiji's military urges PM to resign

Military commander says he will force the government to step aside.

    Fiji's military commander used a television interview to tell the prime minister to "give in peacefully"

    Bainimarama said: "If resistance happens, the military will not be very kind and will come after first those who are inciting the resistance.

       
    "It will be in the best interest of the prime minister not to resist his removal."

    'Treason'

    Earlier on Sunday, Qarase said that he had called an emergency meeting of his cabinet for Tuesday. Asked if he thought the military was about to remove him from office, he said: "No."

       

    "No one should be frightened about what's going to happen in the next couple of days"


    Commodore Frank Bainimarama, 
    commander of
    Fiji's military

    "What he's [Bainimarama] been saying, that will be totally illegal, it shall be against the constitution of Fiji, against the laws of Fiji, and it will amount to treason," Qarase said.


    Bainimarama said that if Qarase opposed the military, he would be sent to Nukulau island where George Speight, the leader of a 2000 coup by armed indigenous nationalists, is serving a life sentence for treason.

    He said he was planning an interim government but that its line-up had yet to be finalised. He assured Fijians that the transition would be "peaceful".

       
    "No one should be frightened about what's going to happen in the next couple of days," he said.

    Bainimarama installed Qarase as interim leader after declaring martial law to put down the 2000 coup, but now accuses him of being too soft on those behind the coup and a failed but bloody mutiny linked to it in which the commander was almost killed.

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

       
    Qarase has bowed to most of his demands, including suspending the three bills, but Bainimarama is still not satisfied.

    A Fijian newspaper, the Sunday Post, quoted unidentified government and military sources as saying the military would begin its "clean up" of the government at 3am on Monday (1500 GMT on Sunday).

    SOURCE: Agencies


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