6 Jun 2003

Fiji ready to provide security force in Solomons if called for

4:37 pm on 6 June 2003

Fiji says it will support Australia and New Zealand it they decide to send a security force to Solomon Islands.

Fiji's Foreign Minister Kalipate Tavola says if asked Fiji could send police or peacekeepers to Solomon Islands.

Australia's Prime Minister, John Howard say it's too early to be talking about sending peacekeepers or police to Solomon Islands.

Officials from both New Zealand and Australia will be sent to Solomon Islands next week for a scoping mission, which will consider all options for assistance, including armed police and military backup.

Mr Tavola says if the fact finding mission determines a need for a security force Fiji will support it.

"we're looking at all areas of conflict..we have had policemen in the Solomons and if there is any plan we will certainly be looking at it favourably"

Fiji Foreign Minister, Kaliopate Tavola

Crisis talks on the law and order situation in the Solomons were held in Canberra between Australian and Solomons Government leaders yesterday.