Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Return to barracks, Fiji military told - 28/01/2009
Fiji must make a renewed commitment that the military will withdraw from civilian politics following an election, return to barracks, and submit to the authority of the elected civilian government, in accordance with the Constitution. This was one of the recommendations agreed to during the Forum Leaders Special Retreat in Port Moresby yesterday.
“.....more than two years of rule by an unelected military government, with no clear timetable for the return of constitutional government to the people, is not acceptable by international standards including those embraced by all Forum members and enshrined in the Biketawa Declaration....”.
Furthermore, the Forum also reaffirmed that there are long-term issues that need to be addressed in Fiji, including independent and inclusive political dialogue; but such dialogue must be primarily focused on the holding of elections. The dialogue process, it added, should not be the cause for further delay in holding elections.
The Forum also emphasised the need to restore democracy without further delay.And while it noted and acknowledged the steps taken by Fiji towards re-engagement with the Forum since the Leaders’ Meeting in Niue, including the reconvening of the Forum-Fiji Joint Working Group, and the second visit of the Ministerial Contact Group, it expressed serious concern at the continuing lack of practical preparations for holding elections.

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