SV fervently hopes for a positive and speedy resolution to our current situation but should that not be achievable in today’s first round of talks, at least there’s a start. However, leaders, both in the interim government and political parties should bear in mind that ‘time is of the essence’ … set out your parameters clearly but dialogue with an open and conciliatory mind… the people depend on goodwill from both ends to resolve Fiji’s political situation and take us back to parliamentary democracy via elections next year.
|United Kingdom, United States backs political dialogue|
Fri, 24 Oct 2008
SUVA, Fiji —– The British Government has welcomed moves by Fiji’s interim Prime Minister to meet with political parties.“An early return to civilian and constitutional democracy is an essential foundation for the future of Fiji and its people.”In a statement today, British High Commissioner Roger Sykes said, “we welcome any dialogue that is inclusive and hopes for a positive outcome.”
Fiji’s interim prime minister Commodore Frank Bainimarama has invited representatives of Fiji’s 16 registered political parties to a meeting next Monday to kick-start discussions on Fiji’s return to parliamentary democracy.
The UK maintains that Fiji’s interim regime should hold elections early next year as Commodore Bainimarama had earlier promised.
“The UK stands by the statement issued by the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group (CMAG),” he said. “We remain seriously concerned by the lack of progress towards elections by March 2009 as promised to the region, the international community and the people of Fiji by the interim Government.
Meanwhile, the United States of America believes Fiji needs to return to a democratically elected government as rapidly as possible. “To that end, we have harmonised our approach with that of Fiji’s neighbours in the Pacific Islands Forum.
“Consistent with the Forum Chair’s call for dialogue and engagement, the United States welcomes any discussion that leads to a practicable agreement on a way forward,” a statement from a U.S Embassy spokesman said.
Fiji’s former ruling party was adamant that no-nonsense Commodore Bainimarama would not have his way at next Monday’s political forum. The Soqosoqo Duavata ni Lewenivanua (SDL) director Peceli Kinivuwai said they would not tolerate any “bullying tactics” by the interim Government. “The meeting should be “fair and square” with terms and conditions agreed by all parties,” he said as representatives of Fiji’s 16 registered political parties prepare for the meet. Commodore Bainimarama made a strong statement this week that he would not accept any demands from the parties, only proposals based on the People’s Charter.
However, despite all the pre-meeting drama Mr Kinivuwai was not expecting any fireworks on Monday. He said the SDL’s demands will be the same as its rival Fiji Labour Party and that is to return Fiji to parliamentary democracy as quickly as possible. “We are going with an open mind and one of our requests is to take the country back to election. “We are firm with our decision and they (IG) will not dictate to us because they’ve got to understand that we command majority of support from the people.”
Mr Kinivuwai also said if the interim Government is planning to negotiate within the bounds of the Charter then the party will have reservations about the meeting. “The SDL party is happy that we’ve got a chance to talk with the interim Government and other political parties. We view this as positive but let’s hope that this does not come to an abrupt stop.”
Commodore Bainimarama said that political party leaders and the international community should accept that elections will not be held in March next year.