30 Jul 2003

Vanuatu prepares to send police to Solomons, but doubts linger

3:13 pm on 30 July 2003

Vanuatu's Council of Ministers has agreed to send police and soldiers to Solomons Islands as part of the Australian-led intervention force.

The Daily Post newspaper reports that a large number of police, and officers in the Mobile Force, as well as former members, have applied to join the country's contingent.

The Police spokesman Major Aru Maralau, says they are prepared to send 50 soldiers and police when the government is ready.

The Prime Minister, Edward Natapei, says work is still being done to see how Vanuatu can afford to contribute to the force.

He says they are looking at a package to cover allowances and insurance for any officers.

And Mr Natapei says he has some misgivings about the intervention.

"The way it's been done, we're a little concerned that even the Forum Secretariat was not fully aware of the conditions for these Forces going in,...what exactly they are going in for."