30 Nov 2006

Fiji's military exercises completed early this morning

7:56 am on 30 November 2006

Exercises by Fiji's military to secure the capital Suva against the threat of foreign armed intervention were completed in the early hours of this morning.

Beginning at midnight, troops in full battle gear secured strategic areas such as the president's official residence, Government House, the parliament complex as well as other key locations.

Roadblocks and snap checkpoints were set up and the road along the Suva foreshore was closed to all traffic as the military fired illumination rounds into the sea near Nukulau Island and the entrance to Suva Harbour.

The military spokesman, Major Neumi Leweni, said the exercise was a precautionary measure in case of any foreign intervention arising out of the meeting of Pacific Forum foreign ministers in Sydney tomorrow.

The meeting will be held in accordance with the Biketawa Declaration which has provision for intervention by a regional security force..

The Australian foreign minister, Alexander Downer, last week called on Fiji's prime minister, Laisenia Qarase, to convene the meeting in his capacity as chair of the Pacific Forum.