18 Oct 2006

Fiji PM appeals for calm ahead of Forum summit

7:10 pm on 18 October 2006

Fiji's prime minister, Laisenia Qarase, has appealed to all the people of the country to remain calm and go about their normal lives following alleged threats made by the military commander, Commodore Bainimarama, to remove the government.

Mr Qarase issued the appeal after convening an emergency meeting of the National Security Council in Suva today after which he met with the president and commander-in-chief, Ratu Josefa Iloilo, and the vice president, Ratu Joni Madraiwiwi.

He said the National Security Council was assured by the acting army commander, naval Captain Esala Teleni, and the acting police commissioner, Moses Driver, that there was no threat to the country and no cause for alarm.

The Prime Minister's Office said the statement issued by Mr Qarase had the endorsement of both President Iloilo and Vice President Madraiwiwi.

Commodore Frank Bainimarama has threatened to remove the government in three weeks if it continues to push through the controversial Qoliqoli Bill and the Reconciliation and Unity Bill.

Commodore Bainimarama spoke to Radio Legend from Iraq today and said he will continue to push for the government's resignation.

He said he would not be intimidated by threats to take the matter to the Supreme Court.