20 Feb 2007

NZ prime minister says Fiji military must accept the EPG report

6:44 am on 20 February 2007

The New Zealand prime minister Helen Clark says an eminent persons group report on last December's coup in Fiji calls the takeover by Commodore Frank Bainmarama unconstitutional and for the military to return to their barracks.

The EPG, a group put together by the Pacific Islands forum, and headed by the deputy prime minister of Vanuatu, Sato Kilman, spoke with the various stakeholders in Fiji, earlier this month.

Miss Clark says the report is a very detailed analysis of what has happened in Fiji and her hope is that the military regime will embrace it.

"It has suggested that there be a time frame set for a new election - at the outside in 18 to 24 months, if not sooner - and has called on the military to comply with the human rights standards and enable the courts to operate freely."

The full report will not be made public until after it has been discussed by the region's foreign ministers at a meeting that is expected in the next few weeks.