26 Feb 2007

Solomon Islands opposition welcomes government re-arming reversal

8:09 pm on 26 February 2007

The Solomon Islands opposition leader, Fred Fono, has welcomed the Prime Minister's decision to reverse his planned re-arming of local police.

Mr Fono says he's glad Manasseh Sogavare is finally listening to the voice of the majority.

The proposal, which would have started with the Prime Minister's close protection unit, prompted widespread condemnation from the parliamentary opposition and women's, church, trade union and business groups.

Mr Sogavare says he has taken up an offer for Papua New Guinea police serving with the Regional Assistance Mission to provide armed security for himself and the Governor General.

But Mr Fono says having a more regional armed unit would be preferrable:

"I'm not too happy with how he's picked on only Papua New Guinea. He should be allowing the Regional Assistance Mission to do that, even if it means other officers from other countries in the region so that it's seen as a more regional approach rather than just picking out PNG."

Fred Fono