Sunday, February 22, 2009

Bainimarama causing crisis, says Qarase

Bainimarama causing crisis, says Qarase

Fiji’s ousted Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase has told the Fijian community in Sydney that interim Prime Minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama’s behaviour is causing a crisis in the region.

According to Australia Network News, Qarase made the comment before a crowd of more than 300 Fijians who attended a fundraising dinner at the Marrickville Town Hall last night.

It reports that Qarase told the Sydney crowd the Pacific Island Forum had made a unanimous stand in favour of an election in Fiji this year and that as a result Bainimarama’s Government was now portraying Fiji's traditional friends in the Pacific, especially Australia and New Zealand, as enemies.

“They are not our enemies. They are bound to us by history and culture and they want to do all they can to encourage Fiji to return to parliamentary democracy and respectability."

Qarase said he was not surprised Commodore Bainimarama had said he would not meet the May 1 deadline as he had a record of reneging on commitments to the Forum.

He added that he was placing his hopes on the President's political dialogue process which is to be mediated by the United Nations and the Commonwealth.

Qarase has told Fijilive that although he is on a private visit to Australia, his party supporters there have insisted on inviting him to dinner so he could inform them of the situation on the ground back home.

He has defended his recent statements in Australia saying he only told the truth to supporters there.

Qarase said the money he collected will be used to finance many of his party’s legal challenges.

Qarase is expected to return to Fiji before March 5, 2009.

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