15 Dec 2006

Deposed Fiji PM unable to find transport back to Suva

9:28 am on 15 December 2006

Fiji's deposed prime minister, Laisenia Qarase, cannot find transport to travel back to Suva to attend next week's meeting of the Great Council of Chiefs.

Mr Qarase was airlifted to his home village of Mavana on the island of Vanuabalavu in the L:au Group 300 km to the east of Suva two days after he was overthrown in a military coup last week.

He says he wants to return to the capital to attend text week's meeting of the chiefs to help find a political solution to the coup.

But no airline or shipping company is willing to transport him.

Mr Qarase says he hopes the military will give him a chance to discuss a peaceful and legal resolution to the political crisis given that the 1997 Constitution is still in place.

Meanwhile, the military appointed caretaker prime minister, Dr Jona Senilagakali, has called on Mr Qarase to stop fighting back to return to power.

Dr Senilagakali says Mr Qarase should realize that the military is now in control and the country has reached the point of no return.

Dr Senilagakali says President Mara had stood aside after the May 2000 coup to avoid bloodshed and he had always thought Mr Qarase would follow the example set by his own high chief.