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Fiji Military Commander Threatens to Replace Government by Friday


Fiji's military commander has threatened replace the government by Friday afternoon unless it moves immediately to meet his demands.

Commander Frank Bainimarama said Thursday that if the demands are not met by 12:00 p.m. local time Friday, there will be a "peaceful transition," because he said he "does not expect any confrontation."

Earlier Thursday, Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase agreed to withdraw several contentious bills if a legal examination finds they are unconstitutional.

The prime minister also hinted that the government would welcome a decision by state prosecutors to end an investigation into possible sedition charges against the military commander.

Hundreds of Fijian troops have conducted a night-time exercise in the capital, Suva, to prepare troops for any possible" foreign intervention" in the country's political crisis.

Crisis talks between Bainimarama and Prime Minister Qarase, ended Wednesday without an agreement on averting a coup.

In New York, the U.N. Security Council urged the military to exercise restraint and refrain from any action that would undermine the rule of law.

Australia believes Bainimarama is likely to stage a military coup within two weeks.

Bainimarama has told reservists to get ready for what he calls a "clean-up" campaign against the government.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and AFP.

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