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Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Oti says Australians won't be asked to leave Solomons

Solomon Islands Foreign Minister Patterson Oti says Australians working in the Regional Assistance Mission (RAMSI) will not be asked to leave Solomon Islands because of the row over the former Attorney-General, Julian Moti.

Moti is in jail in Honiara on charges of entering the Solomons illegally on board a Papua New Guinea (PNG) Defence Force plane. Foreign Minister Alexander Downer has demanded Moti be sent to Australia to face alleged child sex offences.

The row between the two nations has led to suggestions that Australians would be expelled from the Solomons.

But Mr Oti says that will not happen. "No, that is not the case as has been widely speculated," he said. Mr Oti also says he believes Moti had an authentic document to enter the Solomons.

The Solomon Islands solicitor-general has told the country's High Court the date on the immigration document has been falsified.

But Mr Oti says he understands the document has not been altered. "Well, we have to verify that but as I know it [the] minister signed that document authentically," he said.

source: ABC News

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