INDEPENDENT NEWS

Alexander Downer - Fiji Crisis

Published: Tue 23 May 2000 10:38 AM
Media release
Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs, Alexander Downer
FA51 20 May, 2000
Fiji Crisis
This morning I spoke by telephone to the President of Fiji, Ratu Sir Kamisese Mara, about the developing situation in Suva in which the Fijian Prime Minister and members of his government have been unlawfully detained at gunpoint in the parliament building.
Ratu Mara said he was pursuing a strategy to resolve the crisis peacefully. I offered any reasonable and practical support that Australia could provide to him.
The President assured me that the Fiji Military Forces and the police are giving him full support in the current state of emergency.
I restated the Australian Government's backing for the President and the elected government of Prime Minister Mahendra Chaudhry, elected under the recently established Constitution.
The President expressed his gratitude for Australia's support.
It is imperative that legitimate democratic government in Fiji is not disrupted, and I call on the elements that have taken action against Mr Chaudhry's government to lay down their weapons, release those detained, and resolve the situation without bloodshed.
ENDS

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