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New PM asks neighbours to keep out of Fiji affairs

Military-appointed Prime Minister Jona Baravilala Senilagakali has told New Zealand and Australia to keep out of Fijian affairs.

india Updated: Dec 07, 2006 11:49 IST

Fiji's military-appointed Prime Minister Jona Baravilala Senilagakali has told New Zealand and Australia to keep out of Fijian affairs and warned military rule could last for years, reports said on Thursday.

Senilagakali, appointed Wednesday by military chief Commodore Frank Bainimarama following a declared state of emergency, told Australia's ABC that New Zealand and Australia should let Fiji solve its own problems.

"It's an internal problem of Fiji, and I'm asking both Australia and New Zealand to respect the sovereignty of Fiji," Senilagakali said Thursday. "My advice is leave us alone, please."

He said that military rule could continue for years, though he hoped democratic elections could soon be held.

The military has served termination notices to senior government officials and Police Commissioner Andrew Hughes, who is on leave in Australia, according to the Fiji Times.

Termination notices were also served against senior figures in the public service and government cabinet.

A military spokesman said that a military council would appoint replacements.

The spokesman confirmed that acting police commissioner Moses Driver and his deputy, Kevueli Bulamainaivalu, have been sacked.

Filling in for Hughes, who has fled the country, Driver and Bulamainaivalu, who both failed to endorse military rule when Bainimarama summoned them early Wednesday to his barracks, have been detained by the military.

Bainimarama threatened retaliation against ousted prime minisiter Laisenai Qarase if he continued to speak out against the coup. Qarase has called for non-violent protests.

The military has warned other government and public service officials that they could lose their jobs if they don't toe the military line, according to newspaper reports.

First Published: Dec 07, 2006 11:49 IST