5 Mar 2014

Fiji "in good hands" under new command says Bainimarama

4:34 pm on 5 March 2014

Fiji's regime leader the former commodore, Frank Bainimarama, says the country's military is in good hands under its new commander.

The leader of the 2006 coup has handed over to the former land forces commander Brigadier-General Mosese Tikoitoga, in a ceremony at Suva's Queen Elizabeth Barracks.

Our correspondent in Suva, Ricardo Morris, says the new commander explained his relationship with the prime minister would be based on the constitution.

"When asked about his relationship with Bainimarama now that Bainimarama is becoming a civilian he says I would be lying if I tell you we would be severing all relations, so it wasn't going to be a simple matter of complete change in relationships. He said that personally there would still be warm relations but their professional relationship - between Bainimarama and the military - would depend on how it is defined in the constitution."

Our correspondent in Suva, Ricardo Morris

The New Zealand Foreign Affairs Minister, Murray McCully, has welcomed the decision.

Mr McCully says separating the government and the military is an important step toward holding credible elections later this year.

He says the announcement is an important milestone on that road.