To'abaita Authority for Research & Development (TARD)

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Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Expelled Australian High Commissioner leaves Solomon Islands

The Expelled Australian High Commissioner to Solomon Islands left Honiara for Australia yesterday afternoon.

He was declared Persona Non Grata by the Prime minister last week for allegedly being involved in the country's domestic affairs.

Mr Cole refused to comment about his expulsion at the airport saying anything regarding the issue would have to come from Canberra.

He was farewelled by RAMSI special coordinator James Batley and other diplomatic representatives from New Zealand, the European Union and Britain.

Meanwhile, the Australian Government is reportedly considering further responses to a warning that interference in Solomon Islands' internal affairs could result in a return to ethnic violence.

An Australian Foreign Affairs Department spokesman says additional measures could follow the visa restrictions on Solomon Islands politicians.

The Sydney Morning Herald reports a foreign affairs department spokesman has reiterated that aid could be at risk.

He cited millions of dollars being spent on bilateral assistance and the Australian-led RAMSI. He says to be able to continue to advance these efforts, there's a need for cooperation.

Source: SIBC

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