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Ban urges calm in wake of Fijian court ruling

Ban urges calm in wake of Fijian court ruling

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today called for calm in Fiji following the ruling by the Pacific archipelago's Court of Appeal that the December 2006 removal of the elected Government was unlawful and the appointment of the interim Government unconstitutional.

Mr. Ban “urges full respect for human rights, the rule of law and the judicial process,” according to a statement issued by his spokesperson.

He noted that a meeting convened today by Commodore Josaia V. Bainimarama, who serves as Prime Minister, included a number of political parties, but excluded many major ones.

Last year, the UN was requested to mediate an “inclusive, independent and time-bound” political dialogue, also brokered by the Commonwealth, after parliamentary elections scheduled for last month were postponed.

“The United Nations, in consultation with the Commonwealth, will be reviewing its role in mediating a national dialogue in light of these developments and the prior understanding that the dialogue must be broad-based, inclusive, time bound and without prejudice as to its outcome,” the Secretary-General said in today's statement.

The island chain has suffered prolonged internal tensions between its indigenous Fijian and Indo-Fijian communities, and had four coups since 1987. Mr. Bainimarama, commander of Fiji's military forces, came to power in a coup in December 2006, sparking criticism from the UN at the time.