7 Dec 2006

Fiji minister calls for Pacific Forum to start talks

4:45 pm on 7 December 2006

A Fijian cabinet minister in Laisenia Qarase's government is calling on Australia and New Zealand to initiate new talks to end the coup in Fiji.

Krishna Datt, the labour minister in Mr Qarase's government, says he won't resign and is still in office, despite coup-leader Frank Bainimarama's announcement on Tuesday that all ministers had been sacked.

Mr Datt thinks Commodore Bainimarama has no support, but needs to be offered a way out if the the current crisis is to be resolved.

He says if Pacific Forum countries become engaged, the commander might back down.

"I think the commander probably feels that there's no return for him. But I think if a way was shown and there is a way to return, he may.. he may. It would mean whether he's willing to get down to atart some talks. And this is where the authorities outside, the Forum leaders, the Australian leaders, the New Zealand leaders could initiate that kind of discussion."

Mr Datt also called on the leadership of the Labour Party, of which he is a member, to take a much stronger stand against the coup.