27 Jun 2003

New Caledonia's FLNKS cautious in response to Australian role in Solomons

10:11 am on 27 June 2003

New Caledonia's pro-independence FLNKS movement says an Australian-led military intervention in Solomon Islands should only go ahead if there is evidence of crimes, such as drug smuggling and gun running.

But an FLNKS spokesman, Victor Tutogoro, says there can be no development if there is no political stability.

Although New Caledonia is among Solomon Islands' three closest neighbours, Mr Tutugoro says the distance is too big for Solomon Islands to pose a security risk to New Caledonia.

And he says there is no role for France which has co-operation agreements with Australia and New Zealand to help in humanitarian crises.

"If there is drug trafficking, arms trafficking things of that kind, armed action could be justified on condition that that has been well verified."

Victor Tutugoro.

There has been no comment from the French government as the region's foreign ministers prepare to meet in Sydney on Monday to discuss the planned intervention.