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Thursday, May 10, 2007

Australia reiterates that relations with Solomon Islands can only return to normal with Moti's repatriation to Australia

Australia says strained relations with the Solomon Islands can only return to normal with the return to Australia of the fugitive lawyer Julian Moti.

Foreign Minister Alexander Downer says that Australia still has the same problem with the Solomons - the Sogavare Government's refusal to send Mr Moti back.

Mr Moti has been nominated as Attorney-General of the Solomon Islands.

Mr Downer says Mr Moti should return to Australia to face child sex charges.

"We expect him to be handed over, not kept in the Solomon Islands to evade the law of this country," he said.

Mr Downer says he hopes the issue will be resolved by the Sogavare Government, although he says he has no expectations of action.

"Well the sooner they hand over Julian Moti, the sooner things will return to normal," he said.

The recent aid budget announced by Mr Downer maintains funding for the Solomon Islands at $224 million, an increase of $4 million from the previous year.

Source: ABC News

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