25 Jun 2003

Vanuatu backs Australian plan to intervene in Solomon Islands

10:50 am on 25 June 2003

The Vanuatu government says it is prepared to support an armed Australian-led intervention in Solomon Islands to restore law and order there.

The goverment spokesperson, Daniel Bangtor, says Vanuatu would be willing to contribute police or defence force personnel as part of a regional multinational force.

Mr Bangtor says Vanuatu has taken an active role in maintaining peace in Bougainville and it is willing to do the same in Solomon Islands.

"From our experience in the peace monitoring in Bougainville, I think, our men and women in the force would just be willing to contribute in any way they would be asked to contribute in the Solomons. Our commitment will also be based on the spirit of goodwill and Melanesian brotherhood."

Australia is looking at a plan for a foreign force in Solomon Islands to restore law and order and also to take over the running of the country's finances.

Vanuatu's foreign minister, Serge Vohor, will be in Sydney on Monday to discuss the plan at a Pacific Island foreign ministers' meeting.