12 Jul 2005

Call for Fiji president to intervene to resolve stand-off between military and government

1:10 pm on 12 July 2005

An expert in governance in Fiji says the president could intervene to resolve the standoff between the government and the military over the Reconcilation and Unity Bill.

Professor Graham Hassall of the University of the South Pacific was commenting following reports in the Fiji Times that the military commander has threatened to arrest anyone who tries to destabilise the country.

It reported that Commodore Frank Bainimarama issued the warning in an 8-page document, saying the government is forcing Fiji into the same arnarchy it faced in 2000 which resulted in a coup.

Professor Hassall says the president, Josefa Ilolilo, might be able to broker a deal between the parties.

"It could be that the president holds the key to bringing the parties together in some way or bringing the military under some tighter control. Probably that's the missing ingredient so far in what we've seen in public."

Professor Hassall says he's sure the president's office is monitoring the situation closely.