FIJI SUN BLASTS NATIONALISTS OVER "TERRORISM THREAT"

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SUVA, Fiji Islands (January 31, 2001 – Fiji Sun/Pasifik Nius)---The Fiji Sun today condemned Fijian indigenous nationalists who are seeking a "selfish and narrow agenda" with the threat of terrorism, such as experienced during last year's coup crisis.

Responding to the content of a Close-Up current affairs program on Fiji Television last Sunday, the newspaper singled out a nationalist leader, Esira Rabuno, for strong criticism in an editorial, saying people like him had an "awesome responsibility in working for peace and justice - truth – in this country."

Some nationalist leaders have recently warned that the country would be plunged back into violence and upheaval if the Court of Appeal in February upholds a High Court ruling that the 1997 multiracial constitution is still the supreme law and the interim regime installed by the military after the May 19 coup is illegal.

The newspaper said most ordinary people of Fiji wanted to bring back peace.

"They want to see their children attend school without disruptions. They want to see that their jobs are secure so that the money they earn will ensure that there will be food on the table for their families," the Fiji Sun said.

"They want to lead normal lives that are not disputed by curfews and the threat of terrorism like we experienced with [coup leader] George Speight's crowd. No thanks. They've had enough of that."

This was the desire of the majority of the people, the newspaper said.

"But there is a segment which wants to stabilize and keep destabilizing this place until they achieve their narrow aims.

"These are the people personified by Esira Rabuno who appeared on TV's Close-up last Sunday and espoused a selfish and narrow agenda," the Fiji Sun said.

"People like Rabuno cry bogey when there is nothing to be afraid of. One would have thought that an academic like him would point out the security of Fijian rights - everybody's rights for that matter – within the 1997 framework.

"But no. He appeared to be the standard bearer of people with narrow aims.

"Ratu Meli Vesikula and Filipe Bole (who appeared with him in that TV panel) have said the 1997 constitution protects the rights of all - Fijians and non-Fijians.

"They also rightfully expressed that it is the duty of people like Rabuno to point out the truth and the ways of peace to the indigenous masses and not to use their influence to cry wolf when there is no wolf and unnecessarily cause concern and instability."

Title -- 3179 FIJI: Fiji Sun blasts nationalists over 'terrorism threat' Date -- 31 January 2001 Byline – None Origin -- Pasifik Nius Source -- PN/Fiji Sun, 31/1/1 Copyright -- PN/FS Status -- Unabridged

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