Home > News > Regional
Thursday March 6, 2014 MYT 10:08:00 AM
Thursday March 6, 2014 MYT 10:10:06 AM
SUVA, Fiji: Fiji's new army commander said Thursday that he wanted to end the Pacific nation's coup culture, but defended the military's role in ousting the last democratically-elected government in 2006.
Brigadier-General Mosese Tikoitoga became Fiji's military chief on Wednesday after his predecessor Voreqe Bainimarama, who seized power in a bloodless coup eight years ago, relinquished command to pursue a career in politics.
Tikoitoga said the military, which was involved in four coups between 1987 and 2006, was sworn to uphold a new constitution that was put in place last year ahead of elections scheduled for September.
He said the military would respect the result of September's election regardless of who won.
"The constitution is in place and the constitution is the document that will certify the operations of Bainimarama and all his past colleagues," Tikoitoga told Radio New Zealand.
"The military does not want any more coups."
However, Tikoitoga insisted the last coup in 2006 was necessary and had laid the groundwork for a constitution which promotes equality by guaranteeing one person, one vote.
"We did it for a reason and the reason, we still think, was noble," he said. "We will always think that we did a great service to the country by doing what we did."
When Bainimarama took power, he said Fiji needed to root out corruption and end racial inequalities between indigenous Fijians and ethnic Indians descended from sugar plantation labourers shipped in by the British during the colonial era.
Tikoitoga said he was aware there was a distinction between the role of the military and that of the police in maintaining order in Fiji.
"(When) we have a properly elected government in September all that will be put back in place," he said.
Asked whether he wanted to restore defence ties with Australia and New Zealand - the country's major allies before the coup prompted them to sever diplomatic links - Tikoitoga said it was up to Canberra and Wellington to make the first moves.
"It was them that stopped the relationship, so I think the onus is on them to restore it," he said. -AFP
Tags / Keywords:
Mosese Tikoitoga, Fiji military chief, coup
Thai students freed from jail, still face sedition charges
Thai student charged over anti-coup protest
Palanivel's ouster a coup d'état, says MIC info chief
‘No’ to another chicken farm in Kerling
Zaid Ibrahim: Use proper means to replace Najib, not secret plots
Seven dead in helicopter crash in Indian Kashmir
Little hope for missing 100 Miners have slim chance of survival after being buried for days
Explosion damages toilet at Japan's controversial shrine for war dead
Grim search for bodies after Myanmar mine disaster
At least 12 on Australian terror watchlist
Five reasons Malaysia is a top talent destination
Police nab members of group believed to be responsible for a series of house break-ins
Xiaomi launches Redmi Note 3 and Mi Pad 2
Barca's Suarez and Messi hit doubles in Roma rout
Copyright © 1995-2015 Star Media Group Berhad (ROC 10894D)(Formerly known as Star Publications (Malaysia) Berhad)