Howard denies Australia behind Solomons raid
The Australian Prime Minister, John Howard, has rejected suggestions Australia was behind a raid on the office of the Solomon Islands Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare.
Mr Howard has arrived in Fiji yesterday ahead of today's two-day Pacific Islands Forum meeting.
The leaders of Papua New Guinea and Vanuatu have joined Mr Sogavare in condemning Australian police involvement in a raid on his Honiara office. They say it violated the Solomons' sovereignty and tainted the good image and credibility of the Australian-led regional assistance mission, RAMSI.
But Mr Howard says they have got it wrong. "We haven't violated anybody's sovereignty and any suggestion that Australia had anything to do with that raid is wrong," he said.
Mr Howard says the media have also made mistakes. "I keep seeing these news reports saying 'Australian police'," he said.
"Sure, a number of the police come from Australia, including the Police Commissioner, but he's acting as the head of the Solomon Islands police force. He's under contract to the Government of the Solomon Islands. He doesn't take any instructions from me or from any officials in Australia, so any suggestion that this was an action in which Australia was involved in any way is totally wrong."
Source: ABC News