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Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Talks focus on resolving Pacific forum row

Australian Prime Minister John Howard has been involved in talks with regional leaders to try and resolve the row between Australia and the Solomon Islands.

The forum's chairman, Fijian Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase, hopes the stand-off will not sideline other pressing forum initiatives.

A group of leaders, including Papua New Guinea's Sir Michael Somare, says Australia needs to respect Pacific nations' sovereignty and stop treating Pacific leaders with arrogance and contempt.

The leaders are attending the official opening ceremony before heading into the forum retreat.

Mr Howard will tell the Pacific Islands Forum in Fiji that Australia remains committed to its aid program in the Pacific, including the regional assistance mission (RAMSI) to the Solomons, in return for improved standards of governance and accountability.

Source: ABC News

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