10 Jul 2003

Solomons MPs will vote on Australian intervention plan

3:22 pm on 10 July 2003

The Solomons national Parliament is expected to vote this afternoon on whether to endorse an Australian plan for an armed intervention force to enter the country and help restore law and order and the economy.

The vote will come after a day and half of debate on the issue.

While some MPs have voiced concerns, the Police Commissioner Bill Morrell says the vast majority of Solomon Islanders cannot wait for it to arrive.

And Mr Morrell says he doubts the Guadalcanal rebel leader Harold Keke has the resources to undo the work of the intervention force.

But he told ABC radio a key job for the force will be to reassure people that they are safe and this will lessen Keke's hold over them.

"I mean if your village is about to be overrun by him you either side up with him or you get killed and although he is located on the weather coast he does have other supporters in other parts of Guadalcanal and when they feel they're being threatened if they're being threatened by Malaitans then they have to rally to something, so potentially they would rally to him"