19 Nov 2004

Vanuatu's Sope expects return to top ministry after Taiwan rejection

2:50 pm on 19 November 2004

A Vanuatu Cabinet Minister, Barak Sope, says he expects to be reinstated as Foreign Minister, or given a post of similar status.

Mr Sope was demoted from Foreign Minister to Minister in charge of the Comprehensive Reform Programme earlier this week.

The move was seen as retaliation by the Prime Minister, Serge Vohor, for Mr Sope leading opposition last week to his plan to grant diplomatic recognition to Taiwan.

"Yesterday , the Council of Ministers, or Cabinet, voted formally and unanimously for a second time to reject the plan and endorsed the one China policy."

They also called on the Prime Minister to try and seek additional donor funding from countries such as China.

Mr Sope says he expects the Prime Minister to announce later today that he is reversing the reshuffle.