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Monday, February 05, 2007

PNG Inquiry Counsel urges Solomon government to show respect and cooperation towards PNG

By Julia Bore

A Counsel assisting the PNG Defence Force Board of Inquiry, John Kawi, has called on the government of Solomon Islands to respect the independent State of Papua New Guinea by cooperating with the inquiry.

The probe was convened at the behest of the PNG cabinet directive through the Defence Minister to get to the bottom of the issues surrounding the escape of Australian fugitive Julian Moti.

John Kawi said the clandestine escape by Moti and his two companions to the Solomon Islands in October last year breached the international and internal Civil Aviation laws of the two countries.

“It was an act of clandestine escape through which the two countries’ laws were seriously breached.”

Mr Kawi said the inquiry was convened based on an NEC decision signed by Sir Michael Somare, the Prime Minister of PNG which directed Defence Minister Martin Aini to convene the inquiry to solve the mystery of who sanctioned the flight to Munda in Solomon Islands. He told the PNG National Newspaper yesterday that the current stance by the Solomon Islands government in stopping the inquiry from travelling to the SI is direct disrespect of the government of PNG.

Mr Kawi said the SI government’s stance showed that it was condoning the illegal action of last Oct 10, which breached both countries’ sovereign laws as well as international civil aviation laws.

“One way that the Solomon Islands government could show its respect for the law is to cooperate with the PNG Government to bring those people, who contributed to breaking the laws of both countries, to tell the truth.”

He said the PNGDF Board of Inquiry was trying to ensure that both countries’ laws were upheld.

“The inquiry is not about convicting or prosecuting anyone in the Solomon Islands,” he said.

Source: PNG National

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