10 Aug 2006

Fiji PM says no more "talanoa" talks with Labour leader

10:04 am on 10 August 2006

Fiji's prime minister, Laisenia Qarase, says he will hold no more "talanoa" talks with the Labour Party leader, Mahendra Chaudhry.

Mr Qarase has told Fiji TV the "talanoa" talks were a complete failure and a waste of time and resources.

The "talanoa" talks were informal discussions initiated in the tense political atmosphere after the 2001 general election by the Hawaii-based East West Centre and moderated by its director, Dr Sitiveni Halapua, of Tonga.

Fiji's opposition leader, Mick Beddoes, who initiated similar talks after the May general election, says it is precisely because of thorny issues like the current Qoliqoli Bill and the Land Claims Tribunal Bill that he has been trying to promote regular dialogue.

Mr Qarase says if there are compelling reasons to hold such 3-way talks, he will reconsider his position.