20 Sep 2006

Australia restates displeasure at Solomons expulsion

7:20 pm on 20 September 2006

Australia has restated that Solomon Islands will have to face consequences over the expulsion of the Australian high commissioner, Patrick Cole, from Honiara.

The Australian foreign minister, Alexander Downer, says people need to know that if they treat Australia shabbily they pay a price for that.

Australia has already tightened visa regulations for Solomon Islands politicians, prompting the Solomons prime minister to travel to the US via Fiji instead of Australia.

Mr Downer says the political elites in Honiara will have to think about the consequences of the way Australia's high commissioner has been treated.

Mr Cole is returning to Australia after being declared persona non grata for allegedly meddling in domestic affairs.

Mr Downer says another high commissioner will be sent to Solomon Islands when it suits Canberra.