Fijian PM, army chief to solve rift in NZ

Fijian Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase arrived in New Zealand Tuesday morning on a special mission to meet directly with the army Commander Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama.

The move was regarded as a positive step by the government to find a solution to the political tension resulted in a possible coup.

According to Government Press Release, Qarase is to meet Commodore Bainimarama in Wellington on Wednesday.

Qarase said he was grateful to the Government of New Zealand for arranging and facilitating the talks.

"I have always said that I am ready to meet directly with Commodore Bainimarama, and to do so with an open mind," said Qarase.

The outspoken army chief is already in New Zealand for a christening of his grandchild, and has talked with New Zealand Foreign Minister Winston Peters last weekend.

Tensions in Fiji have been high since Bainimarama threatened last month to remove Prime Minister Qarase from office.

Bainimarama ever backed down from those threats after Qarase met his demand to amend controversial legislation, removing amnesties for people convicted over Fiji's 2000 coup.

He issued last week demands to the government and a two-week deadline to comply, and has recalled army reservists in readiness for what he describes as a "clean-up" of the Qarase government.

Pacific neighbors Monday warned against a possible Fiji coup as tensions between Government and the Army chief have been building up.

Source: Xinhua

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