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Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Sogavare denies any aid withdrawal from Canberra due to current diplomatic rift

by Deli Oso/PM Press Secretary

Solomon Islands Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare has dismissed suggestions that the current diplomatic stand-off between Honiara and Canberra may affect Australian aid to the country.

Mr Sogavare told Parliament there had been no notification from Australia of any intention to withdraw their aid in view of the current diplomatic situation.

He was responding to a question from North Malaita MP, Enele Kwanairara, asking for a government guarantee that Australian aid would continue in the event of a continued ‘political standoff’.

“The question is wrongly worded, there is no political stand-off. There is a diplomatic stand-off and it’s normal,” Mr. Sogavare said.

The Prime Minister said unless the Opposition had been informed of any such intention by the Australian government, the Australian government had not notified the Solomon Islands government of any thought of withdrawing its aid. He said it would be unreasonable to allow diplomatic relations to meddle with aid assistance.

Mr Sogavare said Solomon Islands is enjoying a healthy relation with Australia despite some recent hiccups.

“This is normal in any relationship and the government is taking steps to normalise it (relationship).”

Source: GCU

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