16 Jan 2006

Fiji leaders hold meeting to ease tension

2:14 pm on 16 January 2006

A meeting between Fiji's prime minister and the military commander in the presence of the acting president and commander-in-chief, Ratu Joni Madraiwiwi, to resolve the standoff between the government and the military was still under way a short while ago.

Radio Legend reports that Commodore Bainimarama arrived 20 minutes after Laisenia Qarase after which the first face to face meeting between the two got under way.

The report says security at Government House appeared to be normal and a large media contingent including some from overseas have been waiting outside.

Earlier today, the Fiji Times quoted Commodore Bainimarama as saying that his statements were not political but were made only when government policies threatened national security.

He said security to him meant a clean and corruption free government and his outbursts were mainly against the early release of prisoners who has been tried, convicted and imprisoned for their involvement in the coup.

Commodore Bainimarama said it began when those who staged the Labasa mutiny had their sentences reduced on the recommendation of people in the government without the military's knowledge.