FIJI CHIEFS DECLINE DIALOGUE WITH GOVERNMENT

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Bainimarama’s dissolution of council of chiefs still hurts

SUVA, Fiji (Fijilive, Nov. 10, 2008) - Chiefs who were part of the Great Council of Chiefs prior to its dissolution are still hurting and will not be part of dialogue sought by the interim Government, says a Fiji high chief.

Rewa High Chief, Ro Teimumu Kepa, said the interim Government’s suspension of the GCC was "humiliating" and the plan to have interim Prime Minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama dialogue with the tradition leaders next month is "hilarious."

Speaking to Fijilive this morning Ro Teimumu said that she and her Burebasaga Confederacy, one of three political divisions of Fijian bureaucracy, will not take part.

"Our position is clear and we will not take part in any dialogue with the interim government," she said. "At this point in time we are just not ready to talk with the government. If you call other chiefs their answers will be the same. You would be lucky if a chief on the ‘wrong’ side of the interim regime gives you a comment on such issues."

Ro Teimumu declined to comment on whether she had been invited to the proposed dialogue or not.

Meanwhile, Tui Tavua and former GCC chairman Ratu Ovini Bokini said he did not wish to comment on the issue.

Ratu Epeli Nailatikau, whom Bainimarama last month passed on the responsibility of interim Indigenous Affairs Minister, has been visiting chiefs in the country since his new appointment.

The Bau chief said he has the support of his peers he visited in the western parts of Viti Levu. However, there has been no update on his other visits.

Reports from certain provinces indicate that they are expecting a traditional apology from the interim Government before their chiefs can consider cooperating.

The Bose Vanua, or meeting of tribal leaders, is expected to take place early next month.

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