Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Hold elections, US urges Fiji

Stay out of Fiji’s affairs, US rep told
10/03/2009
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US Ambassador to Fiji Steven McGann should stop meddling in Fiji’s affairs, says interim Prime Minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama.

Bainimarama’s comments come after McGann yesterday called on the people of Fiji to work together to ensure the rapid return of democracy.

He emphasised that Fiji had retained democracy after the December 5, 2006 coup.

“Maybe McGann is referring to parliamentary democracy. But he should not be interfering in Fiji’s internal affairs.

“We will have elections when we’re ready,” he said.

At the Prophet Mohammed’s birthday celebration in Lautoka yesterday, McGann said, “We agree with the Pacific Island Forum that more than two years of rule by an unelected military government, with no clear timetable for the return of constitutional government by the people for the people and of the people is just not the way forward”.

“We call upon all Fijians to work together to ensure a rapid return to democracy. It is when all people join in common cause that they can solve their toughest challenges,” McGann had said.




Hold elections, US urges Fiji
09/03/2009
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All Fijians must work together to ensure a rapid return to democracy, the US Ambassador to Fiji Steve McGann has urged.

“We agree with the Pacific Island Forum that more than two years of rule by an unelected military government, with no clear timetable for the return of constitutional government by the people for the people and of the people, is just not the way forward,” he said while speaking at the Fiji Muslim League's National Celebration of Prophet Mohammed's Birthday at the Lautoka Muslim Primary School this morning.

“We call upon all Fijians to work together to ensure a rapid return to democracy. It is when all people join in common cause that they can solve their toughest challenges,” he said.

McGann said the method taken by the interim Government may be honourable but it is not the right way to attain democracy.

“We do not object to efforts to promulgate fair and equitable electoral changes, but in a true democracy, these changes must be made through inclusive, transparent discussions and constitutional processes that incorporate the views and aspirations of all Fijians.”

He said democratic governments with constitutionally protected religious freedom create societies where people can live and worship as they choose without intimidation, without suspicion and without a knock on the door from soldiers or police.

“It is a precious freedom. It is a basic compact under which people of faith agree not to impose their spiritual vision on others, and in return to practice their own beliefs as they see fit. This is the calling of our conscience, and a source of our strength.

“Fortunately, freedom of religion is vibrant and strong throughout the Pacific. Unfortunately democracy has yet to be realized in Fiji,” he added.

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