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Friday, February 09, 2007

Australia accuses Solomon Islands PM of blocking new High Commissioner's appointment

Australia says the Solomon Islands Prime Minister, Manasseh Sogavare, is blocking the start of the appointment of Australia's new top diplomat in Honiara.

Mr Sogavare has twice cancelled meetings to accept the credentials of the new High Commissioner, Peter Hooton, who arrived in Honiara three weeks ago.

Giving evidence to a parliamentary hearing in Canberra, Foreign Affairs official David Ritchie said Mr Hooton can not begin his diplomatic work until the letter of appointment is accepted.

"Solomon Islands Prime Minister has twice cancelled appointments that he previously made with our High Commissioner," he said.

"So the High Commissioner hasn't yet seen the Prime Minister."

Mr Hooton is to replace the previous High Commissioner, Patrick Cole, who was expelled by Mr Sogavare last year.

Source: ABC News

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