DEPOSED FIJI PRIME MINISTER CHAUDHRY APPEALS TO INDIA FOR ASSISTANCE

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SUVA, Fiji Islands (February 27, 2001 – Radio Australia)---Fiji’s deposed Prime Minister Mahendra Chaudhry has appealed to India to muster international support for the restoration of democracy and a return to constitutional rule in the Pacific nation.

Mr. Chaudhry, Fiji’s first ethnic-Indian prime minister, who was toppled in a coup attempt last May by an indigenous Fijian rebel group, said he has asked India’s Prime Minister, Atal Bihari Vajpayee, to use his influence to highlight the plight of Fiji’s Indian community.

Mr. Chaudhry said attention is now focused on Fiji’s Court of Appeals, which is to give its verdict on Thursday on the validity of the military-backed interim administration ruling the country.

He warns that Fiji will be plunged into a worse political crisis if the interim government doesn’t accept the court’s verdict.

For additional reports from Radio Australia, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Radio/TV News/Radio Australia.

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