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Friday, June 30, 2006

Fisheries Minister clarifies misinformation while claiming intimidation by Australia and New Zealand at IWC

The Minister for Fisheries and Marine Resources Nollen Leni refutes claims that he had defied Cabinet's stand by voting in support of commercial whaling at the recent International Whaling Commission meeting held in St.Kitts and Navis in the Caribbean.

The Fisheries Minister was responding to bitter criticisms by Australia and New Zealand Foreign Affairs Ministers accusing Solomon Islands of bowing to cheque book diplomacy with Japan, something both Japan and Solomon Islands Governments denied.

The National Fisheries and Marine Resources Minister, told SIBC, he was annoyed by incorrect media reports about his position over the issue .

Mr Leni says he had maintained Cabinet's directive by abstaining when the vote on whether to lift the moratorium on commercial whaling or not.

Leni says since Australia withdrew the motion on scientific whaling, the issue was not put to the vote.

Mr Leni says he was wrongly interpreted as having voted in favour of Japan's position on a totally separate issue from the two issues.

Leni says what he voted for was a resolution calling on IWC to restrict its activities to the original Convention.

The Fisheries Minister says he felt it was only correct to call on IWC to do the right thing by reverting to its original convention.

Meanwhile, the Fisheries Minister Mr Leni says his delegation was under constant intimidation from Australia and New Zealand during the week-long I-W-C conference.

source: SIBC Online (http://www.sibconline.com.sb/main.asp)

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