21 Feb 2007

Fiji interim administration silent on Eminent Persons' report

10:37 am on 21 February 2007

Fiji's interim administration has decided not to comment publicly on the Forum Eminent Persons' report which is highly critical of the situation in Fiji.

The report called on the interim prime minister, Commodore Bainimarama, to step down and hand over power to a civilian and for general elections to be held within 24 months.

Commodore Bainimarama says the administration will not comment on the report as a matter of policy, procedure and protocol.

He says the Group was constituted by the foreign ministers of Pacific Forum countries and its visit was implemented by the Forum secretariat.

Commodore Bainimarama says it is only proper that the Forum foreign affairs ministers have the opportunity to consider the report first.

He says the interim administration will let its position on the report known directly to the foreign ministers because to do otherwise would be improper and discourteous.

The Australian foreign minister, Alexander Downer, has already endorsed the report and called on Commodore Bainimarama to step down, while the New Zealand prime minister, Helen Clark, says she hopes the interim administration will comply with its recommendations.