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Thursday, June 22, 2006

Former Fisheries Minister talk on SI Voting at IWC

Former National Fisheries Minister, Paul Maenu'u says international criticisms leveled against Solomon Islands over its position on the international whaling issue this year may have been for a similar dilemma to what happened in 2005.

Mr Maenu'u says it would be interesting to know if the Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare had not interfered with the Cabinet's decision on voting at the International Whaling Commission.

Maenu'u was responding to recent criticisms by Australia and New Zealand against Solomon Islands, accusing it of voting in favour of Japan's initiative to lift the ban on commercial whaling.

The Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare yesterday said it was news to him that his Minister for Fisheries Nollen Leni had voted in favour of lifting the ban on commercial whaling.

He confirmed that Cabinet's directive was to abstain from voting during the meeting of IWC at St Kitts and Navis in the Caribbean.

But Mr Maenu'u who was forced to resign during the Kemakeza government after being accused of taking bribes from Japan to vote in favour of commercial whaling says he suspects that what happened this year might be similar to what happened in 2005.

He says it was the Prime Minister then that had directed him in a telephone call during a short break before voting took place which way he should vote.



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