21 Apr 2006

Australian foreign minister to visit Solomons at weekend

6:59 pm on 21 April 2006

The Australian foreign minister, Alexander Downer, says he will visit Solomon Islands in response to the unrest in Honiara.

Mr Downer says he will meet the Governor-General and the newly appointed Prime Minister, Synder Rini.

He says he will encourage the Solomon Island government to improve good governance, address corruption and work towards economic prosperity.

Mr Downer also hopes to get a chance to meet members of the opposition and will meet the Australian Defence Force and Australian Federal Police.

He says Australia's priority is to assist the Solomon Islands authorities to restore law and order in the capital so that the reconstruction effort may begin.

Meanwhile, the Mr Rini says he will not quit despite calls to do so and he has denied allegations that he came to power corruptly.

Opponents claim he used money from Chinese businessmen to buy votes from MPs.

However, Mr Rini ,denies this, saying anyone with proof to back up such accusations should go to the police.