19 Dec 2006

Commodore refuses to attend critical Chiefs' meeting in Fiji

8:10 pm on 19 December 2006

It's been confirmed that Fiji's military commander and head of state since the coup, Commodore Frank Bainimarama, will not attend tomorrow's meeting of the Great Council of Chiefs to discuss the current crisis.

Commodore Bainimarama has decided not to be part of the discussions because he has been invited only as the commander, not in is capacity as the acting president - a post he has held since the coup.

The Council chairman, Ratu Ovini Bokini, says the chiefs want to meet on their own tomorrow and decide whether they want to invite the military commander on Thursday as the acting president.

But Radio Legend quotes Commodore Bainimarama as saying it is worrying to see how the chiefs' meeting is being manipulated.

He says some members of the council who were in parliament in support of the May 2000 coup will also be part of the Great Council meeting tomorrow.

Commodore Bainimarama says he knows they will try to work against the military.

He says this has been encouraged by the Council chairman, Ratu Ovini Bokini.

Commodore Bainimarama has also ruled himself out of the second day of the meeting on Thursday because he will be attending the funeral of a soldier in Nadroga.

At the end of the meeting the chiefs are expected to make known their stand on the overthrow of the Qarase government two weeks ago.