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Tuesday, April 17, 2007

RAMSI Special Coordinator travels with PM Sogavare to the West

The Special Coordinator of the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands, Timothy George, is among those travelling with Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare's delegation to visit disaster stricken areas of Western and Choiseul provinces.

The delegation called at Irigila on Vella La Vella this morning and is expected to leave Vella La Vella at two o'clock this afternoon for Kariki in the Shortland Islands.

The Prime Minister's group will leave Kariki tonight for Choiseul Bay. The group is expected to visit Choiseul's provincial capital, Taro and Sasamunga tomorrow.

On Thursday Prime Minister Sogavare's delegation will visit Munda, Rendova Harbour, and Kukundu on Kolombangara Island. The group will return to Gizo on Friday.

Meanwhile, Finance Minister Gordon Darcy Lilo has defended the Prime Minister's visit to the tsunami affected areas of Western and Choiseul provinces following criticisms by the Parliamentary Opposition.

Mr Lilo who is acting Prime Minister says Manasseh Sogavare could not have gone earlier because he had to coordinate important Cabinet meetings. He says the timing is now right for the Prime Minister to go and see for himself the on-going relief efforts in both the Western and Choiseul provinces.

The acting Prime Minister says in the last two weeks, Opposition MPs of both provinces have been in close liaison with Cabinet, the National Disaster Council and the Office of the Prime Minister.

He says government had sent a delegation of senior officers to carry out assessments of the disaster area, on day one after the disaster.

Mr Lilo calls on the Opposition leader Fred Fono to refrain from making illogical statements.

In a statement yesterday Mr Fono said he was surprised the Prime Minister is making the trip two weeks after the disaster. He said the visit should include the government and Opposition group.

Source: SIBC

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