6 Nov 2006

Australia should listen more to Melanesian countries, says Vanuatu PM

7:26 pm on 6 November 2006

Vanuatu's Prime Minister Ham Lini says Melanesian countries must work together with Australia to achieve common aims after a spate of recent diplomatic stoushes.

Last month, Canberra suspended ministerial ties with Papua New Guinea over allegations it helped smuggle Solomon Islands' suspended attorney general, Julian Moti, who is wanted by Australian police, to the Solomons.

The extradition attempt heightened an already tense stand-off between Canberra and Honiara which threatened Australia's continued participation in the regional assistance mission.

Now Australia has sent personnel into Fiji, raising the ire of the military which called them mercenaries.

Mr Lini says Australia should listen more to the point of view of Melanesian countries.

"We can say that they are too pushy in some areas but we should also respect that maybe they are our big brother in the Pacific and a lot of times they will come in to voice their concerns about what they think it's best to do in our country but we have different views and we should work together in order to achieve what we want on our side."

Vanuatu's Prime Minister Ham Lini.