Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Leaders’ informal talks ‘bring hope’

Leaders’ informal talks ‘bring hope’
20 MAY 2008

Fiji’s ousted Opposition Leader Mick Beddoes says the breakthrough in talks between the former Prime Minister and interim Prime Minister will lift the hopes of many.

Beddoes has expressed hope that neither leader placed pre-conditions during their first round of talks yesterday.

“This is a breakthrough in every sense of the word, considering there has been no meeting between them since December 5th 2006,” he said when contacted by Fijilive.

“Of course, we don’t know what was discussed, but being preliminary I suspect it would have been in broad terms.”

He said any pre-conditions would be an act of bad faith and would only serve to introduce unnecessary obstacles to overcome before the discussions have had any chance to develop.

Beddoes added that both leaders should be encouraged by everyone to continue their dialogue but with increased frequency so that there is not much time lost in between talks where ‘things can go wrong and therefore derail the process’, he said.

“I don’t think it is necessary at this early stage of the process for other political parties to participate, as it could unnecessarily complicate things and what is more important at this juncture is for the two men to re-establish their former ‘relationship’ and develop a renewed level of ‘trust’ and get to a point where they feel comfortable enough to widen the discussion to include others,” he said.

Beddoes reiterated earlier statements that dialogue and discussion was the only way to resolve problems now and in the future.

“I am grateful to the interim Prime Minister for agreeing to have this meeting; and to Mr. Qarase in responding positively to the invitation. I am also grateful to the two church leaders for their role in facilitating this outcome,” he said.

IMG resignation ‘will affect Charter work’
20 MAY 2008

The resignation of the chair of the Independent Monitoring Group, which oversees the work on the proposed Peoples’ Charter, will initially have a bearing on the group’s work.

But the head of the Technical and Support Secretariat, John Samy, says they are hopeful that a new chair will be appointed very soon.

“The IMG has been given a very clear TOR (Terms of Reference) and it must report back to the President before the end of the process, which still has several months to go to be completed,” says Samy.

“Initially, (Geert) van der Linden's resignation will have a bearing on the work of the IMG, especially as its work programme has been designed for a three member team,” he said.

“We are therefore hopeful that a new Chair of IMG will be appointed very soon.”

Samy says in the absence of a chair he understands that the work of the IMG continues and that it is not at a standstill because the work of the National Council for Building a Better Fiji on the Peoples’ Charter is now in full swing.

He said it was anticipated that the new appointment would be made within the very near future although a specific date has not been confirmed.

Van Der Linden was appointed by President Ratu Josefa Iloilo to head the three-person IMG, which includes Robin Nair and Reverend Amy Chambers.

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