BAINIMARAMA: DOWNER DOESN’T UNDERSTAND

BAINIMARAMA: DOWNER DOESN’T UNDERSTAND

SUVA, Fiji (Fijilive, Dec. 31) – Fiji's army commander Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama has revealed that he had told Australia three weeks before the coup that he intended to remove the government of deposed Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase.

"Foreign Minister Alexander Downer knew," he said in an interview with The Australian newspaper.

"I told him (Downer) through the Defence Attache in Suva, Colonel Ron."

Commodore Bainimarama said he was disappointed rather than angered by Australia's stance.

"We are very disappointed that Downer doesn't see things our way here in Fiji but that does not mean we want to cut ties," he said. "(He) calls me a bully because we pressure people through the gun. But I told him: 'These are the same guns that saved Fiji from George Speight in 2000'."

The military chief said Australia and its Foreign Minister failed to understand the true nature of events in Fiji.

"(Mr Downer is) harping on about democracy," he said. "Everyone knows that democracy isn't about numbers in an election. It's about the rule of law, it's about good governance, law and order which this last government has not provided," Commodore Bainimarama said.

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