4 May 2006

Fiji's PM says the army will not face cuts

8:22 am on 4 May 2006

Fiji's prime minister says a report that the army is likely to face a drastic cut in numbers is deliberate misinformation to mislead voters ahead of the general election.

The report had said the cut in numbers is proposed in a defence White Paper which would be considered by the SDL government if it is returned to power.

But Mr Qarase has told Radio Fiji this report is part of a politically inspired campaign to influence voters on the eve of polling.

He says the objective is to create fear about job losses in the military's rank and file.

Mr Qarase says the contents of the defence White Paper are confidential.

But he says it not only looks at the traditional role of the army but also gives consideration to an expanded function for the military in the protection of Fiji's sea resources and in rural development through army engineers.