2 Feb 2007

Ousted Fiji PM calls for sanctions on military-backed regime

2:37 pm on 2 February 2007

Fiji's ousted Prime Minister says region-wide sanctions should be imposed on the military-backed government in a bid to rein it in.

Laisenia Qarase is urging member countries of the Pacific Islands Forum to join forces and impose universal sanctions, such as travel restrictions.

Mr Qarase's call came as the Eminent Persons' Group sent to Fiji by the Forum wound up talks with stakeholders over the current situation in the country.

He admits however that even sanctions, such as those imposed by New Zealand and Australia, may not be effective.

"The attitude of the military commander, in particular, reflects a very unstable person and it poses great danger to Fiji. You can never tell what he's going to do next and he acts without reason now, he acts just because he thinks what he says and what he does is right."

Mr Qarase told the EPG yesterday that Fiji should return to democracy as soon as possible, with fresh elections within six months to a year.