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Thursday, July 13, 2006

National Party should be sacked from Gov't: Fono

The Opposition Leader, Fred Fono suggests the Grand Coalition for Change Government of Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare should sack its major partner, the National Party.

He makes the suggestion following a statement by National Party Leader and Commerce Minister, Francis Billy Hilly on Radio Australia that if his party took power, it would change diplomatic ties from Taiwan to China.

Mr. Fono says in the same statement Mr Hilly had revealed that his party had signed a Memorandum of Understanding with China, it has a growing party support for the switch and the belief that Solomon Islands would get more out of its relationship with Mainland China than it does with Taiwan.

He says Mr Hilly's behaviour undermines the cordial and good bilateral and diplomatic ties between Solomon Islands and Taiwan, adding it is also inconsistent with stated support for the diplomatic ties with Taiwan by Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare after he took office.

Although both the Prime Minister and his Foreign Minister Patteson Oti had reassured the Taiwanese Embassy in Honiara that Solomon Islands remains an ally of Taiwan and not China, Mr. Fono says the Sogavare Government should put its policy on Taiwan in order.

He adds as Mr. Oti is a member of Mr Hilly's National Party, both ministers should honour the Government's stated policy on Taiwan.

Meanwhile, the Taiwanese Embassy told the Opposition Office today that it is not worried about Mr Hilly's statement and revelations.

A spokesman says the Embassy is happy with the reassurances by both Mr Sogavare and Mr. Oti this week that the government's support for diplomatic ties with Taipei remains intact.

But Mr Fono maintains his suggestion that the National Party should be sacked from the Coalition for Change Government and he adds, if it does not intend to do that, then the alternative is to get rid of Mr Hilly.

source: People First Network

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