8 Jun 2006

Fiji military ups tone about Defence White Paper

4:04 pm on 8 June 2006

Fiji's military has warned of far reaching consequences for national security if the proposed Defence White Paper is implemented.

The paper has recommended reducing the strength of the army by nearly 50% from 3,300 to only 1,700 and changes to the method of appointing the commander.

The Daily Post quotes the military spokesman, Major Neumi Leweni, as saying the implementation of the Defence White Paper would have implications for the security of the country which in turn would directly affect the economy.

Major Leweni says the social implication of implementing the White Paper is an issue that has to be addressed carefully.

He warns that the East Timor issue is a good example and Fiji should learn from it.

Major Leweni says the military is now taking the Defence White Paper seriously because in the pre-election period it had been led to believe that the paper had been shelved.

He says the military will now need to re-examine the issue and take appropriate steps to deal with them.