19 Mar 2007

Rift with Australia can be ironed out , says Solomons PM

7:31 pm on 19 March 2007

The Solomon Islands prime minister, Manasseh Sogavare, says the rift between Canberra and Honiara will be ironed out, now that Australia has a permanent representative in Honiara.

Speaking to the media after receiving the letter of introduction of Australia's new High Commissioner Peter Hooton, Mr Sogavare says the acceptance of Mr Hooton is a gesture of goodwill on the part of Solomon Islands.

He says problems are not problems unless they have solutions.

Mr Sogavare says the relationship between Honiara and Canberra has been under a lot of pressure because of misunderstandings since there is no one on the ground on behalf of Canberra for the government to communicate directly with.

Mr Hooton is replacing Patrick Cole who was expelled last year amid a row over the appointment of wanted Australian lawyer, Julian Moti, as the Solomons attorney general.