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Solomons: Aust warns of further unrest during vote

Australia warns of further unrest in Solomon islands during no-confidence vote

Australia has warned of rising tensions in Solomon Islands amid a diplomatic row between the two neighbours and a looming no-confidence vote targeting the leadership in the Solomons parliament.

Australia’s foreign ministry says with the resumption of parliament scheduled for 2 October, Australians should avoid protests and large gatherings as they may turn violent.

The Solomons Prime Minister, Manasseh Sogavare faces a no-confidence vote organised by opposition lawmakers when parliament resumes following a diplomatic row with Canberra.

Mr Sogavare expelled Australia’s top diplomat this month, accusing him of undermining a government-ordered inquiry into two days of rioting in April.

He accused Canberra of diplomatic bullying and said the country would face further unrest unless Australia adopted a more cooperative stance in helping resolve its problems.

Since 2003, Australia has led a South Pacific aid mission to stamp out corruption and restore security in the Solomons after it came close to collapse amid ethnic violence and mismanagement.

Nearly 400 troops and an extra 120 police from Australia, New Zealand, Tonga and Papua New Guinea were rushed to the Solomons after national elections sparked the April riots which left the Chinatown of the capital, Honiara, in ruins.

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