5 Aug 2003

Solomon Prime Minister clarifies claims he told militants to hold on to guns

4:15 pm on 5 August 2003

The Solomon Islands Prime Minister Sir Allen Kemakeza has clarified claims he instructed former militants to hold onto guns.

Opposition MPs, including the leader of the independent group, Gordon D'arcy Lilo, say the Prime Minister should resign in light of the revelations.

But Sir Allen says during the amnesty last May some former MEF militants suggested a meeting with Harold Keke to organise a nationwide surrender of guns by all parties.

The Prime Minister says he backed the idea and would try to make it happen and appointed Y Sato as his special envoy.

He says he agreed with the militants that they should hold onto their guns while negotiations were going on with Keke.

However Sir Allen says the negotiations were undone by the failed attempt of 10 Malaitan men to capture Keke - those ten were killed.

In his statement Sir Allen calls on people not to play politics but to back the intervention.

He says if he or any of his Cabinet are found guilty of crimes then they will face the full force of the law.