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Calls for Fiji to revoke martial law -

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Calls for Fiji to revoke martial law

Broadcast: 08/09/2007

Reporter: Peter Lewis

The Fijian interim government has appealed to the international community not to overreact to news
that it has re-imposed martial law.


LEIGH SALES: International pressure is mounting on Fiji's interim Government just 24 hours after
the military backed regime reimposed martial law. The move has been condemned by Fiji's neighbours
and the EU is again threatening to cut off aid. New Zealand correspondent Peter Lewis reports.

PETER LEWIS: Within days of touching down in Fiji's capital after nine months in exile, the deposed
Prime Minister is finding that little has changed since last December's coup. The military is still
calling all the shots.

LT COL. MOSESE TIKOITOGA, FIJI MILITARY COMMANDER: And maybe he needs to watch his back now,
whatever he does, because the police will be on him once he steps out of line.

PETER LEWIS: That means no more meetings like this one he attended with members of his SDL party a
couple of days ago, even though there are no such restrictions on the rival Labor Party.

LAISENIA OARASE, DEPOSED PM: So if the Fiji Labor Party is allowed to meet like that, then every
political party should be given freedom to meet.

PETER LEWIS: Talk like that has got him in trouble with the authorities.

AIYAZ SAYED KHAIYUM, FIJI ATTORNEY-GENERAL: Assessments by the security agencies indicate that the
comments, rhetoric and intentions of these persons are likely to cause instability.

PETER LEWIS: The attorney says the military backed regime cannot risk a challenge to its authority
of this kind.

AIYAZ SAYED KHAIYUM: Nor can we have such parochial interests sabotage a stable and socially and
economically viable path to the next elections.

PETER LEWIS: The State of emergency is squarely aimed at stopping Mr Qarase's political comeback
and silencing other critics.

LT COL. MOSESE TIKOITOGA: We don't want people running around inciting other people.

PETER LEWIS: The deposed leader is staying close to home and saying nothing, but his treatment has
got the neighbours talking.

ALEXANDER DOWNER, FOREIGN MINISTER: The trouble with Commodore Bainimarama is that the economy is
sinking, the public don't have any confidence in his coup and his leadership and he's in a state
now of flailing around trying to solve problems in ways that will not succeed.

WINSTON PETERS, NZ FOREIGN MINISTER: The frank advice to the commander is to take his army back to
the military barracks and stop embarrassing Fiji and the Pacific.

PETER LEWIS: New Zealand's urged Fiji other neighbours to condemn the latest move as well. Peter
Lewis, Lateline.