14 Feb 2005

Former Fiji Prime Minister says President should not be involved in dispute with military

7:05 am on 14 February 2005

The former Fiji prime minister, Sitiveni Rabuka, says the government should not involve the president in its dispute with the military commander, Commodore Frank Bainimarama.

Mr Rabuka made the comment on Fiji TV after a weekend meeting of the National Security Council discussed the military's withdrawal of its soldiers from the prime minister's security detail.

The meeting, chaired by the prime minister, agreed to prepare a report on Commodore Bainimarama and refer it to President Iloilo.

Mr Rabuka says the current impasse with the military is a misunderstanding and referring it to the president would be highly irregular.

He says the government should discuss Commodore Bainimarama's grievances openly and use existing machinery to solve it.

The military withdrew the security detail after it was surcharged for overspending its budget.

Mr Rabuka says he agrees with Commodore Bainimarama that providing soldiers for the security of the prime minister and the president is not part of the military's budgetted activities