6 Jul 2006

Solomon Islands SICA says church leaders should visit Weathercoast region

10:25 am on 6 July 2006

There is a push for church leaders to travel to the Weathercoast on Guadalcanal in Solomon Islands to improve the reconciliation of communities.

The general-secretary of the Solomon Islands Christian Association, Reverend Philemon Riti says he will suggest to the SICA executive that a visit should take place.

He was commenting after a deputy special co-ordinator at the Regional Assistance Mission, or RAMSI, visited the Weathercoast and said the effects of years of ethnic tension is still being felt and reconciliation is urgently needed.

Reverend Riti says people really respect church leaders over and above others, apart from village chiefs, so a visit would be very significant.

"We have to be seen together, to unite together, so that our people in the grassroots, especially those affected areas, will also have a deeper feeling of the wider community's concern for them. And, in that way, peace and reconciliation will be coming forward."

The convicted warlord, Harold Keke, and his supporters terrorised local communities on the Weathercoast for many years.