23 Oct 2006

MSG unable to alleviate tensions between Honiara and Canberra

6:32 am on 23 October 2006

The Melanesian Spearhead Group has been unable to provide any solution to the worsening relations between Solomon Islands and Australia.

Fiji's Foreign minister, Kaliopate Tavola, says when MSG foreign ministers met over the weekend , they attempted to consider regional issues separately from the tensions that have emerged between Australia, PNG and Solomon Islands over the appointment and attempted extradition of the lawyer, Julian Moti.

Mr Tavola says the efforts to separate these bilateral issues from the question of the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands had proved difficult.

Officials put forward a package of solutions which all parties could agree to.

These includes re-negotiating the terms of reference of the Commission of Inquiry into the April riots in Honiara.

However, Mr Tavola says last Friday's raid on the Solomon's Prime Minister's office while MSG Foreign ministers were trying to resolve the problem had only escalated the rift further.