4 May 2006

Dealing with underlying causes of ethnic tension the priority for new Solomons' leader

10:26 pm on 4 May 2006

A priority for the new Solomon Islands government will be getting to the root causes of the ethnic tensions which brought the country to the brink of civil war four years ago.

Manasseh Sogavare was elected prime minister yesterday defeating Fred Fono by 28 votes to 22.

He is expected to announce his Cabinet later tomorrow afternoon.

Mr Sogavare says dealing with corruption, and encouraging Solomon Islanders to come more to the forefront of the country's restoration will be key aims.

But he says the priority for the government will be to go back and investigate the causes behind the country's collapse.

"I think that is where we need to start. There are serious underlying issues and demands that are yet to be addressed and those are serious issues. It is because of these issues that the people of Guadalcanal took up arms to force their demands, and that so we to go back to those underlying issues and seriously address them."