To'abaita Authority for Research & Development (TARD)

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Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Sogavare maintains stand not to release Moti to be tried on Aussie soil

Solomon Islands Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare will not back down to any Australian attempt to release Julian Moti to face justice for alleged sex charges on Australian soil.

The charge against Moti which was already cleared in Vanuatu 9 years ago were brought to the surface last month by Australian Federal Police only after his appointment as Solomon Islands Attorney General.

Mr Sogavare believed Australia's pursuit of Moti is politically motivated and has vowed never to return him to Australia.

“Australia will have to understand my position on that. I'm not going to allow him to be extradited to Australia," Sogavare told overseas media on monday night.

The Prime Minister also accused the Australian-sponsored RAMSI of being heavy-handed and taking a "very legalistic, very oppressive approach, putting more people in jail".

He said Solomon Islands will not lose anything if RAMSI pulls-out from its oppressive operation. "To be honest with you, if they pulled out tomorrow nothing really would happen to this country," Mr Sogavare said.

Australian Prime Minister John Howard who stretched his anger over both Solomon Island and PNG by threatening to cut his aid - indicates he has no immediate plans to pull Australia's peacekeeping forces out of the Solomon Islands, despite his disagreement with Sogavare.

He claimed that RAMSI has been a wonderful lifeline to the people of the Solomon Islands – a claim that many supporters of the Sogavare-led government would not agree with.

“Australian personnel are flooding the country every year – taking up most of the top jobs from Solomon Islanders. The current government’s rural policy is what we approve – unlike the centralized development of RAMSI assistance in Honiara,” a rural Sogavare supporter said on monday.

Source: Government Communications Unit

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