INDEPENDENT NEWS

Goff Welcomes Court Decision On Fiji

Published: Wed 15 Nov 2000 05:00 PM
Foreign Affairs Minister, Phil Goff, has welcomed the decision by Fiji’s High Court that the country’s 1997 Constitution remains valid and that the properly elected parliament be recalled.
“Justice Gates’ decision that the abrogation of the Constitution after the May 19 coup was invalid and that Parliament is still in being allows Fiji the opportunity to move forward.
“Fiji’s instability and lack of legitimate government following the coup has caused huge damage to Fiji socially and economically.
"Too many lives have been lost, Fiji’s economy is set to retract by an estimated 15% and its international image severely undermined.
“Justice Gates decision provides the opportunity now to make progress, if key players including the Interim Government and the military are prepared to take it up.
“For security and stability to be restored, there must be the acceptance of sorting out difficulties by democratic process, not the use of violence.
“Possibly the best way forward would be for both community indigenous and Indo-Fijian and all political parties to support the establishment of a Government of national unity and reconciliation.
“There needs to be good will and good faith on all sides. The alternative is a continuing threat of feuding between different factions of the indigenous political elite which has already caused so much damage.
“The needs of both communities and the more than a third of the country’s population which is living below the poverty line, is to turn the country’s focus on how to rebuild the economy and political institutions, rather than a power struggle between elites motivated by greed and self-interest.
“The whole of the international community would welcome such an approach. Fiji’s closest neighbours and friends, in particular New Zealand and Australia, would be ready to assist in every way possible in that process,” Mr Goff said.
ENDS

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