Sides report progress in Fiji coup talks

Crisis talks between Fiji’s elected leader and its defiant military commander ended today without an agreement on averting a coup, but the prime minister said “substantial” progress had been made on issues that divided them.

Crisis talks between Fiji’s elected leader and its defiant military commander ended today without an agreement on averting a coup, but the prime minister said “substantial” progress had been made on issues that divided them.

In the Fijian capital, Suva, the military announced it would lock down part of the city for three hours overnight in a training exercise designed to prepare troops to repel foreign interventionist forces.

Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase and Commodore Frank Bainimarama discussed the military’s repeated threats to oust the government over a range of complaints for about two hours at a closed-door meeting in New Zealand.

The Fiji military said in a statement that troops in full battle gear would take up positions at key posts in the capital between midnight tonight and 3am tomorrow.

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