30 Aug 2005

Commonwealth Secretary General says people of Fiji need to learn to live harmoniously together

3:27 pm on 30 August 2005

The Commonwealth secretary general, Don McKinnon, says the people of Fiji have to learn to live together as there is no value in using the gun.

Mr McKinnon gave the advice through the Fiji Times when commenting on the government's Reconciliation and Unity Bill which is designed to free coup convicts and stop the prosecution of others.

Mr McKinnon said Fiji had had two coups from which it should have learnt.

He said the Commonwealth did not have a stand on the Bill.

But Mr McKinnon called on the Qarase government to ensure that the contents of the Bill reflect the views of the people of Fiji.

Mr McKinnon said continuous debate and opposition to the Bill by the people of Fiji and the international community was all part of the democratic process.

After the 1987 Rabuka coups, Fiji was expelled from the Commonwealth and was only re-admitted after the 1997 Constitution was passed.

After the Speight coup Fiji was suspended from the Commonwealth but this was lifted after the 2001 general elections restored an elected government.