8 Sep 2004

Barak Sope says all foreign advisors should be asked to leave Vanuatu

9:07 am on 8 September 2004

Vanuatu's Foreign Minister Barak Sope says he would like to see all foreign advisors and expatriates working in the Government leave the country.

His Government has called for a review of the work being undertaken by the advisors, mostly from Australia, but also New Zealand.

This comes as two Australian Federal Police officers have been ordered out of Vanuatu, because he says, they are operating outside of the defence agreements between the two countries.

And Mr Sope, says there concerns that the advisors are interfering in the country's internal affairs.

He says the first advisors were brought from 1998 to help with the Comprehensive Reform Programme which cut the size of the public service.

"A lot of civil servants have been removed - some of them highly qualified ni-Vanuatu. Now we have advisors that have replaced them. That was not the purpose of the Reform Programme. The purpose of the Reform Programme was to improve things in the public service."

Mr Sope admits some of his desire to get rid of advisors is because he blames them for his jailing on fraud charges two years ago.