20 Jul 2005

Solomon Islands peace co-ordinator says underlying issues need addressing for reconciliation

5:30 pm on 20 July 2005

There is hope that a major reconciliation process planned between the Solomon Islands government and the Guadalcanal province will resolve some long-standing disputes.

It will be the first of its kind since the end of the ethnic tension, and is significant because it was in Guadalcanal where conflicts first erupted over the number of Malaitans there competing for jobs and occupying land.

The Guadalcanal peace co-ordinator, Kamilo Teke, says for reconciliation to work, the government has to address the issues of people squatting on their land.

And, he says they want more autonomy.

Mr Teke says the government is setting up a taskforce to oversee the reconciliation process.

"I'm hopeful that some of the dispute will be resolved through this major reconciliation, between national government and the provincial government of Guadalcanal. Maybe, not in terms of compensation but in terms of rehabilitation and reconstruction."

Mr Teke says the reconciliation ceremony may be several months down the track because consultations are required.