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Monday, January 22, 2007

PNG Foreign Minister brushes judge's remark about Solomon Islands

Papua New Guinea Foreign Minister Paul Tiensten has brushed aside a judge's remark that Solomon Islands is just a "speck in the ocean", by describing the comments as unfortunate.

Last week during proceedings of the Defence Force inquiry into the Moti flight from Papua New Guinea to Munda, chairman Justice Gibbs Salika stated that "Solomon Islands was just a speck in the ocean", and the Moti flight should not be described as a "covert operation". Justice Salika made the remarks when he was grilling PNGDF chief of operations Captain Max Aleale.

However, the PNG Foreign Minister said the comments were the judges's own personal views and did not reflect those of the Papua New Guinea Government.

“It is rather unfortunate that the personal views of the judge on a close sister country and neighbour are being expressed in a public commission of inquiry,” said Mr Tiensten.

Mr Tiensten says that Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands had a close bilateral relationship. Mr Tiensten said that relationship continued to be strengthened by growing contact.

“We have also co-operated and supported each other on a number of occasions in regard to regional and international issues as is expected within relationships which are as close as that of PNG and Solomon Islands,” he added.

Source:Post Courier

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