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Monday, November 19, 2007

Australia's Foreign Minister comments on Sogavare

Australia’s Foreign Affairs Minister Alexander Downer has said Australia has to be tough in dealing with the Prime Minister of Solomon Islands, Manasseh Sogavare.

Mr Downer said Mr Sogavare has been hostile and a great obstacle to the Australian-led RAMSI, the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands.

Mr Downer told Radio Australia the reason RAMSI stays is it's supported massively by the people of Solomon Islands, and it's supported by them because it works.

He says RAMSI work is costing Australia 800 million Australian dollars..

Mr Downer said the mission has been a great success for Solomon Islands and a great obstacle from Prime Minister Sogavare.

He said he doesn't have a problem having an argument with Prime Minister Sogavare if at the end of the day he's going to help the people of the Solomon Islands.

The Government has advocated a tough line on the South Pacific, while Labor has called for new partnerships.

Federal Opposition defence spokesman Robert McLelland said Australia should be doing much better in the region.

Mr McLelland says the islands of the arc of instability is also Australia's arc of responsibility.

Source: SIBC

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