22 Jun 2004

Chairman of Fiji's Great Council of Chiefs maintains Vice President should step aside during trial.

3:22 pm on 22 June 2004

The chairman of Fiji's Great Council of Chiefs says he still believes the vice president should resign ahead of his High Court trial on serious coup-related charges.

His trial, and those of five others on similar charges, is due to begin within the week.

Ratu Epeli Ganilau says he approached Ratu Jope Seniloli over the matter when he was charged last year, but contrary to reports in Fiji, has not raised the issue with him again.

The Great Council of Chiefs appoints the president and the vice president, but Ratu Epeli says it has no power to force anyone to resign.

"I can only just advise and that's it, and hopefully their conscience will dictate what their next action would be, but other than that, we don't have the power to, I don't have the power to tell him to leave."

The chairman of Fiji's Great Council of Chiefs, Ratu Epeli Ganilau.