10 Aug 2004

Solomons ministers defend foreign delegation size

1:31 pm on 10 August 2004

Two Solomon Islands cabinet ministers in Samoa for the Pacific Islands Forum summit and the post Forum dialogue have defended the large party sent by Honiara.

Questions have been asked in Solomon Islands as to why such a big delegation was sent, firstly to Papua New Guinea to sign a border agreement and then onto Apia, where they were one of the first teams to arrive.

The foreign minister, Laurie Chan, says a large team was needed in Port Moresby to convey the significance of a resolution on a long standing issue between the two countries.

He says a big team was also justified at the Forum:

"I've taken over from Nollen Leni as head of the post Forum dialogue and peter Boyers who is going to be the new minister of planning will take up this case with port Forum stuff later on. And he is coming on this trip and we need the attorney general to look through all the documents. But we also have to explain to the Pacific Forum how important RAMSI is and update them on RAMSI."

The Solomons Foreign Minister, Laurie Chan

A new cabinet minister, Peter Boyers, says the criticism is an over-reaction, but he thinks the large contingent will be a one-off.