3 Jul 2003

Solomon Islands opposition MPs yet to see legislation to allow intervention

5:26 pm on 3 July 2003

Solomon Islands opposition MPs are yet to see the planned legislation which would allow an Australian-led intervention force into the country.

Parliament is to sit to consider the law changes on Tuesday after the prime minister, Sir Allen Kemakeza, delayed the session by two weeks so MPs could study them.

An opposition spokesman, Simeon Bouro, says the only details they have of the plan have come from the Australian/New Zealand team of officials which has been briefing people in Honiara this week.

He says the government has not informed them despite their inclusion in a parliamentary taskforce set up to prepare for the intervention.

"We were hoping to be able to see it this week because there is a public holiday on Monday and on Tuesday there will be the sitting but haven't come to that as yet."

Meanwhile, Australia has downplayed the chance of involving France in its planned intervention force in Solomon Islands.

A spokesman for the foreign minister in Canberra says a French role was only mentioned in passing and the prime minister, John Howard, has raised concern about the mission being perceived as neo-colonialism.

Mr Howard also says European Union and French trade policies awere very damaging and unfair to Austtralia.

France has offered to help if asked.

It 's not known if SI has asked the French governent whose territory of New Caledonia is amonh SI's three closest neightbours.