30 Jun 2003

Fiji PM spells out differences between indigenous Fijian and Indo-Fijian aspirations

3:41 pm on 30 June 2003

Fiji's prime minister, Laisenia Qarase, has highlighted racial differences between himself as an indigenous Fijian and the Labour Party leader, Mahendra Chaudhry as an Indo-Fijian.

Mr Qarase has told Radio Fiji's Fijian language programme that for this reason racial issues concerning their own people would always be paramount in the way they lead.

His comment followed a statement by the National Federation party calling on the two leaders to step aside it they could not resolve their differences.

Mr Qarase siad the NFP should look at how the economy has been growing since the coup to realise that his government means well for all the people of Fiji.

He said as an indigenous Fijian he wants to see all native land come under the Native Lands Act wheras Mr Chaudhry, as an Indo-Fijian leader, wants to retain the Agricultural Landlord and Tenant Act.

Mr Qarase said although the differences are there, both he and Mr Chaudhry are working hard through the "talanoa" talks and other means of dialogue to iron out some of the their differences.

He says he hopes they will find some common ground for a united Fiji.