FIJI CHIEFS URGED TO EMBRACE CULTURAL DIVERSITY

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SUVA, Fiji (Fiji Times, Aug. 25) - Chiefs need to recognize and acknowledge differences between races in Fiji in order to unite its people, Adi Koila Nailatikau said in the Senate yesterday.

Speaking during the Senate debate on the President Ratu Josefa Iloilo's speech yesterday Adi Koila said chiefs hold the key to uniting the country.

She said her late father, the Tui Nayau, Ratu Sir Kamisese Mara, emphasized that leaders need to go for things that unite people rather than things that divide them.

"We all need to embrace broad principles that accommodate the rights and aspirations of all the people of Fiji. Only then will peace and harmony prevail," Adi Koila said.

"Sir, the chiefs as leaders are going to earn and maintain the respect of the people of Fiji and preserve the uniqueness of the traditional and cultural structures they need to also recognize that the differences that exist between us all cannot and should not be ignored," she said.

"We must speak with fairness, responsibility and goodwill toward all ethnic groups," Adi Koila said.

"In this regard, it is my sincere hope that the Government will rise to the occasion and challenge of coming up with a Bill that will truly promote peace, unity and tolerance amongst the different ethnic groups and peoples of Fiji," Adi Koila said.

August 26, 2005

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