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Solomon Islands BC Headlines

EU - SI

European member of Parliament, Glenys Kinnock, today warned a constitutional solution to the current political impasse in Solomon Islands would be the only acceptable outcome.

Ms Kinnock is part of an European Union fact-finding mission to the country. While briefing journalists in Honiara today, Ms Kinnock said although she is not here to make judgements, she's aware the country faces serious turmoil.

She said the European Union was deeply concerned about the threats to the legitimate government of the country.

The situation in Honiara is on the agenda of both the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group and the European Union, and Ms Kinnock said there'll be severe hardship for ordinary Solomon Islanders if the two organisations impose restrictions. She said the two organisations would prefer a return of the legitimate government in Solomon Islands.

BRITAIN CONDEMNATION

Britain has condemned those responsible for taking hostage the democratically elected Prime Minister Bartholomew Ulufa'alu.

In a press statement, the British Minister of State at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office calls for the immediate and safe release of Mr Ulufa'alu.

The statement also calls for the swift return to respect for democracy in Solomon Islands.

The British Foreign and Commonwealth Office also advises against all travel and transit through Solomon Islands.

And, it urges its citizens in Honiara and Guadalcanal to remain calm, stay indoors, and observe the curfew.

EU WARNS SI

The Co-President of the Asia, Caribbean and Pacific/European Union Joint Assembly, John Corrie, has cautioned, Solomon Islands could lose 210 million Ecus from them.

Mr Corrie said the money represents 25 percent of the country's Gross Domestic Product.

He warned that the country faces a difficult situation with virtually no income, hence the need to solve the present political crisis in a diplomatic and democratic way.

Mr Corrie stressed that failure to do this could result in the cancellation of all aid to the country.

While issuing the stern warning, he was hopeful the current impasse will be resolved within the constitution of Solomon Islands and the rules of democracy.

OPP - GOVT TAKEOVER

The Parliamentary Opposition described yesterday morning's operation as regrettable but inevitable.

In a statement, the Opposition office says had the government listen to sound advise and the respect for cabinet and democracy, the situation could have been avoided.

It adds that the worst scenario hadn't happened because the recent action has not been a full fledged military takeover which could have resulted in the dissolution of parliament.

The statement says the situation must be appreciated by all elected members to allow common sense to prevail and co-operate with the silent majority.

The statement further calls on all development partners to understand the reality of the situation and the underlying issues.

In the meantime, the Opposition also calls on the joint forces to respect their commitment to allow the process of democracy and the national government to operate in any change of leadership.

EMERGENCY SERVICES

The National Referral Hospital in Honiara is providing temporary emergency services. Medical Superintendent Doctor Aaron Oritaimae says the emergency services will be reviewed daily.

In a statement, Dr Oritaimae appeals to the community to co-operate to ensure that only patients requiring urgent treatment should be presented to the hospital, during this difficult times.

He says because the hospital has been working with a reduced work force, particularly doctors and nurses, it's now necessary to restrict some non emergency services, so that urgent cases can be properly attended to.

Dr Oritaimae adds that any person requiring emergency dental, eye or medical care should go to the Accident and Emergency Department.

The public will be kept in formed of any changes to these arrangements.

MEF INJURIES

Several members of the Malaita Eagle Force and Police para-military force were taken in for treatment at the national referral hospital this afternoon.

This follows a shoot-out at the Alligator Creek area on Guadalcanal earlier today.

Honiara residents wishing to see those injured were not allowed into the hospital by members of the joint operation guarding the gates into the hospital. SIBC News was not able to confirm the seriousness of the injuries with hospital authorities, but by-standers at the hospital gate say two were earlier released this afternoon after getting treatment.

The shoot-out today was believed to be between members of the Isatabu Freedom Movement and the Joint Para-military/MEF.

VAIKE WARNS

Temotu Police boss David Vaike strongly warns residents of Lata to avoid exaggeration of information.

Mr Vaike says the warning is to discourage misinformation on what is happening in Honiara.

He says people who get messages and information from relatives in Honiara must check their facts with the police before circulating any of it.

Vaike said information that are not true must not be circulated around Lata, because of the effects it can have on families with relatives in the capital.

He said some information reaching Lata on the current situation is already hurting some families at the provincial town.

IMF CONDEMNS

The Isatabu Freedom Movement, IFM, of Guadalcanal condemns in the strongest terms the armed and unlawful takeover of the Solomon Islands capital, Honiara. The action also include the detention and forceful call for the resignation of the Prime Minister, Bartholomew Ulufa'alu.

In a press statement, IFM, says the action by the Malaita Eagle Force and rogue elements of the Royal Solomon Islands Police in the early hours of yesterday is unconstitutional.

It says the fact that a democratically elected Prime Minister was forced to resign and the national parliament forced to convene by armed militants is undemocratic and should not be condoned.

The IFM views any decisions made by either the Prime Minister, members of his government and or the national parliament under these circumstances as illegitimate because they are made under duress.

It call on all Solomon Islanders to openly condemn in the strongest terms, the action of the MEF and rogue elements of the police.

CABINET MEETS

Cabinet is continuing to meet in Honiara to consider its options after demands by the joint paramilitary Malaita Eagles Force operation for the Prime Minister, Bartholomew Ulufa'alu to resign.

The series of meetings started this morning with a meeting by the parliamentary caucus which was also attended by the operations leader Andrew Nori.

Mr Nori left at the end of the meeting to consult his group and was supposed to have joined the Cabinet meeting at 3.30 PM but by 5.30 PM he had not turned up.

SIBC understands the demand for Prime Minister Ulufa'alu to resign is proving difficult because of the possible international repercussions especially with aid assistance from bilateral and multi-lateral sources.

So far the action by Mr Nori and his group has been strongly condemned by Australia, Britain, New Zealand, European Union, Papua New Guinea and the Commonwealth.

These countries and organisations have all called for a return to democracy in Solomon Islands.

Prime Minister Ulufa'alu today had a busy day attending the caucus and cabinet meetings.

He also held a meeting with the Australian High Commissioner, Dr Martin Sharp and met again with the EU delegation.

The Prime Minister continues to move around under heavy guard by members of the Malaita Eagles Force.

SIBC understands that the EU delegation is expected to meet with Mr Nori in Honiara this evening.

ENDS

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