9 Jul 2003

Solomon Islands parliament adjourns until tomorrow to debate armed intervention force

10:32 am on 9 July 2003

The Solomon Islands parliament has met under urgency but adjourned until today when it will debate an Australian plan to send an armed force to the country.

Walton Naezon, the minister for provincial government, says they're working to ensure that every MP sees a copy of the bill which was outlined in a policy statement.

Mr Naezon says he expects the bill, which will allow foreign police to carry arms in the country, to pass without problem.

"Some of us,.. we have been in our second term in Parliament, in our third, and we have been through in the year 2000, when the tension happened,... we've been asking Canberra for this intervention for almost four years. It's not a new thing...it's something we wanted to happen. It might be a little bit late in terms of economic recovery, but we are happy and we support the proposed intervention."

Mr Naezon says Solomon Islands has also presented a counter proposal to Australia, asking it to meet the recurrent budget and salaries of police which it's unable to do.

He says Australia has indicated it will consider the request once the parliament backs the proposed force and it could help with economic assistance.