18 May 2006

NZ and Australia Foreign Ministers to visit Solomons

7:59 pm on 18 May 2006

New Zealand's foreign minister, Winston Peters and his Australian counterpart, Alexander Downer will travel to Solomon Islands on Friday to meet the new prime minister, Manasseh Sogavare.

Mr Peters and Mr Downer will discuss a range of issues with the newly elected leader including, security and aid assistance.

The two will also meet officials with the Regional Assistance Mission or RAMSI and other officials.

Meanwhile, Manasseh Sogavare has backed away from appointing two MPs to his cabinet while they sit in jail on charges of inciting last month's Honiara riots.

Australia and New Zealand both sharply criticised Mr Sogavare's May 5 choice of East Honiara MP Charles Dausabea as police and national security minister and Central Honiara MP Nelson Ne'e as tourism and culture minister.

A government official says the appointment of Mr Dausabea and Mr Ne'e could not be processed while they were in custody.