QARASE DENIES MILITARY WARNING HE MIGHT HAVE TO RESIGN

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WELLINGTON, New Zealand (RNZI, April 24) - Fiji’s prime
minister, Laisenia Qarase, has denied an overseas media report that the army
asked him to resign if the Supreme Court decision on the multi-party cabinet
case goes against the government.

The case, in which the government is appealing a Court of Appeal
ruling that the Fiji Labour Party be included in the cabinet, is due to be heard
in late June.

Qarase says the report, by the French news agency, AFP, is
baseless.

The report quoted a senior army officer as confirming that the
military asked Qarase to resign if the Supreme Court case went against him.

The military commander, Commodore Frank Bainimarama, is quoted
as saying that they are aware of the officer responsible for the report and he
would be taken to task.

Meanwhile, the military spokesman, Warrant Officer Neumi Leweni,
says reports are being put out by people wanting to discredit the army.

April 24, 2003

Radio New Zealand International: www.rnzi.com

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