3 Nov 2006

Fiji military agrees dialogue needed in standoff with government

10:58 am on 3 November 2006

Fiji's military says the prime minister, Laisenia Qarase's offer to open dialogue with them is the only sensible option.

The commander of Land Forces, Col Pita Driti, has told the Fijilive news website that they will now await Commodore Bainimarama's return from the Middle East to put their cards on the table.

Col Driti says Mr Qarase's offer is light at the end of the tunnel and the military hopes the government brings rational thinking so they can all come up with wise solutions in the national interest for Fiji to be secure and safe.

He says what comes after the dialogue is what counts, adding that the military is 200% behind Commodore Bainimarama.

But the Land Force commander has criticized Mr Qarase's decision to refer the impasse to the Great Council of Chiefs.

Col Driti says that shows Mr Qarase is a nationalist who advocates democracy but does the opposite.

He also says criticisms of the military by the Australian and New Zealand governments shows they do not understand Fiji politics and the factors affecting it.

Col Driti has questioned why the two countries have not criticized the Qarase government's record on good governance.