FIJI PM CHAUDHRY VOWS GOVERNMENT WILL STAY OUT OF FOURTH CONFEDERACY TALKS

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(For background, see Fiji Chiefs Reject Fourth Confederacy.)

SUVA, Fiji Islands (January 4, 2000 – Fiji Times)---The government will not take part in talks on the formation of a fourth confederacy for the Western Division, Prime Minister Mahendra Chaudhry said yesterday.

However, Mr. Chaudhry said, the involvement of two Cabinet ministers was essential because they were representatives of the people of Ba Province.

Civil Aviation Minister Meli Bogileka and Youth and Sports Minister Ponipate Lesavua have been at the forefront of the fourth confederacy issue.

Last week, the two ministers were at Sorokoba Village, Ba, where the Party of National Unity unanimously agreed on a motion which would be put forward to the PANU Annual General Meeting on January 14.

The motion calls for the formation of the fourth confederacy, a move which Mr. Bogileka had said has received support from some chiefs in the West.

Some western chiefs have applauded the idea but have told the Government not to interfere.

"It is a matter for the chiefs in the West to decide upon and government will not be involved,'' said Mr. Chaudhry.

"The two ministers involved are an essential part of the province as they are the representatives of the people."

For additional reports from the Fiji Times, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Newspapers/Fiji Times.

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