Military commander warns of bloodshed in Fiji | india | Hindustan Times
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Military commander warns of bloodshed in Fiji

india Updated: Nov 02, 2006 11:34 IST

Fiji's outspoken military commander warned the actions of Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase could lead the country towards "bloodshed", but said the military had no intention of mounting a coup.

Military chief Voreqe Bainimarama has repeatedly threatened to oust the Pacific country's government, accusing it of corruption.

"The last thing we want to do is have violence, the last thing we want to do is have bloodshed, but Qarase is pointing us in that direction," he said in an interview broadcast by Radio New Zealand on Thursday.

But Bainimarama, who is out of the country inspecting Fijian troops serving overseas, said the military had no intention of taking power if the government did not agree to its demands or step down.

"The military is not going to mount another coup," he said in the interview recorded on Wednesday night.

The latest crisis erupted Tuesday after senior military officers rebuffed attempts by President Ratu Josefa Iloilo to replace Bainimarama.

With fears of a coup mounting, Prime Minister Qarase on Wednesday said he would not step down in the face of threats from the military.

In an address to the nation, Qarase said he was prepared to reopen dialogue with the military over its demands.

He said he was calling a meeting of the traditional Great Council of Chiefs next week to try to resolve the stand-off.

Bainimarama has often accused the government of corruption and threatened to oust it over controversial legislation, including a bill that would offer amnesties to the plotters of the racially-motivated 2000 coup.

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