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Call For Committed Leadership In The Solomons

16 December 2001

Ministers Call For Committed Leadership In The Solomon Islands

Joint statement by Australian Minister of Foreign Affairs Alexander Downer and New Zealand Minister of Foreign Affairs Phil Goff following their Queenstown Meeting Dec 15/16

“Monday’s election of the Prime Minister of the Solomon Islands will be critical to the country’s future.

“The new Prime Minister will face a daunting challenge. Solomon Islands has been through huge turmoil in the last three years. As a result of ethnic conflict, there has been a political crisis, a breakdown in law and order and the virtual collapse of the economy.

“It is vital that Solomon Islands’ newly elected leaders turn the country way from corruption and mismanagement and resolutely address the many urgent political, economic and security challenges facing the country. First and foremost will be restoration of law and order, including reform of the police force.

“There must also be a realistic budget and economic strategy along with a commitment to transparent and accountable government.

“New Zealand and Australia are ready to do all they can to support the new Government if it is prepared to take initiatives in these areas. We hope to make a joint visit to Honiara in January for discussions with the new Government.

“If urgent progress is not made on these critical issues, a further deterioration of the already serious economic and security situation is inevitable, and the people of the Solomon Islands will face a bleak future. Under these circumstances, there may be limited scope for Australia and New Zealand to assist the Solomon Islands. We urge the new Government to take the necessary steps to ensure the security and well being of its people.”

Ends




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