TOGETHER WE CAN ACHIEVE RECONCILIATION: FIJI PRIME MINISTER QARASE

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SUVA, Fiji Islands (January 1, 2002 - Sun)---Reconciliation will not be easy. This needs the support and concern of every citizen if we are to succeed in building a country in which we can all live happily side by side.

Miss Sugar Crown Leeleshni Swamy was told this by Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase.

Ms. Swamy attracted the PM’s attention for saying reconciliation and the future depended on all working together, regardless of race or religion during her crowning.

In a letter to Ms. Swamy, Mr. Qarase thanked her for helping champion the cause of reconciliation.

"As a young woman of Fiji with significant talents and abilities, you can exert a very positive influence on young people by speaking on this issue often and encouraging them to do the same among their friends and peers, their families and workmates.

"Fiji needs role models who, through their understanding and love of the universal values of tolerance and goodwill, can become a shining example for others," he said.

Mr. Qarase said people could also draw hope and inspiration from young sporting achievers who represented the country at the Mini Games in Norfolk Island "who came from our different communities but went with a united purpose and triumphed.

"One day, that spirit which bound them together will spread through our islands. Team Fiji will then be a reality, in its fullest sense," he said.

"I wish you all a very happy New Year. God bless you and your families and God bless our land."

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

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