13 Feb 2012

Sacked Solomons foreign minister says he didn't commit to ties with Russia

4:28 pm on 13 February 2012

The sacked Solomon Islands foreign affairs minister says he didn't overstep the mark when discussing diplomatic relations with his Russian counterpart in Fiji recently.

The prime minister Gordon Darcy Lilo has stripped Peter Shanel of the foreign affairs portfolio, for actions he said were inconsistent with collective cabinet responsibility and decision making.

But Mr Shanel says his meeting with the Russian foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, was no secret and he stuck to the guidelines set out by the prime minister.

He says it was an informal discussion and no commitments were made.

"I did not think that I overstepped my mark at all. The instructions of the prime minister were very clear and loud and we both acknowledged, Mr Lavrov and I, that there are processes that our country has to go through before exchange of diplomatic notes on establishing our relationship."

Peter Shanel says he will remain in the government for now.