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Friday, May 19, 2006

Downer welcomes Solomons ministry proposal

Foreign Affairs Minister Alexander Downer has welcomed suggestions that an acting police minister may be appointed in the Solomon Islands.

The Minister already appointed to the post is in jail, facing charges over the riots in the Solomon Islands last month.

But Mr Downer says the country's Prime Minister, Manasseh Sogavare, may soon appoint an acting police minister and he welcomes that move. Mr Downer is travelling to the Solomon Islands today to meet with Mr Sogavare.

He says the Regional Assistance Mission (RAMSI) will continue until both countries agree it is no longer needed. "We're happy to leave as soon as we possibly can and of course we will have to leave if the Solomon Islands doesn't want us to stay because it's their country," he said.

"That's an important point to emphasise, it's there to help them, not there to colonise them or to control them."

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