14 Sep 2005

Fiji foreign minister says Chaudhry visit to India did not harm relations between the two nations

8:42 am on 14 September 2005

Fiji's foreign minister says the relationship between Fiji and India is still intact despite opposition leader Mahendra' Chaudhry's trip to India to discredit the prime minister, Laisenia Qarase.

The Daily Post quotes Kaliopate Tavola as saying India has given full recognition to Mr Qarase as a democratically elected leader and has invited him on an official visit next month.

Mr Tavola says India surely would not be inviting a terrorist.

He says India is free to listen to Mr Chaudhry's opposition to the Reconciliation and Unity Bill but when Mr Qarase is in New Delhi next month, they will get to hear from him too.

Mr Tavola says India and Fiji have a special relationship and Mr Chaudhry's campaigns would not have a negative impact on that tie.

Mr Chaudhry has met with India's top political leaders in recent days to express his opposition to the Reconciliation and Unity Bill which he has described as state-endorsement of terrorism.