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WELLINGTON, New Zealand (RNZI, Mar. 24) - Fiji’s pro coup Conservative Alliance Matanitu Vanua party has reaffirmed its strong support for the SDL led government.

The assurance comes after a party MP, Josateki Vula, said their coalition with the SDL government would be seriously weakened if George Speight and his fellow coup convicts were not released from prison.

Vula said the Conservative Alliance had followed all available legal means to secure the release of the prisoners, but those at the helm of decision had not accommodated their request.

The Party’s Secretary General, Ratu Josefa Dimuri, now says the Conservative Alliance is committed to its coalition with the SDL and will stand by it for the rest of the government’s five year term.

Dimuri, who is facing a charge of inciting mutiny at the Labasa barracks during the May 2000 coup, says he has full confidence in the leadership of the Prime Minister, Laisenia Qarase’s and his policies.

March 24, 2003

Radio New Zealand International:

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