10 Aug 2011

Solomon Islands govt urged to meet with Colonel Mara

9:37 pm on 10 August 2011

The Solomon Islands opposition leader says any meeting with the former Fiji army colonel Ratu Tevita Uluilakeba Mara shouldn't undermine the relationship between the two countries.

The Solomons Prime Minister, Danny Philip says he won't prevent Colonel Mara from visiting Solomon Islands but that there'll be no government contact at any level.

But Derek Sikua says it's in the interest of the country's relationship with Fiji that the government be open to hearing from Colonel Mara.

He says Colonel Mara may have a better way forward for Fiji than what the interim prime minister Commodore Frank Bainimarama has introduced.

"When I was Prime Minister, along with my colleague from Papua New Guinea, the Grand Chief Sir Micheal, we have bent over backwards in trying to support Fiji. And so it shouldn't be seen as undermining the Government as Fiji. It should be seen as a way whereby we as Melanesians should be open to consultation and to listen."

Dr Sikua says if Colonel Mara wants to meet with him, he would be very happy to.