Wednesday, 17 October 2007 8:14 AM

Fono Deplores Government's Boycott of Forum Meet

Parliamentary Opposition Leader, Fred Fono, has deplored the government's decision not to attend the Pacific Islands Forum Leaders summit currently underway in Tonga.

Mr Fono, in a press statement, said that the government's decision not to attend the Forum Leaders summit showed that "they are not prepared to answer questions from Island Leaders about their attitude towards the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands."

Fono said that being a regional initiative, established under the Biketawa declaration, it is quite shameful and disrespectful as these were attempts by regional leaders to strengthen regional co-operation and lasting peace in island nations.

"Solomon Islands cannot afford to isolate itself from Pacific Island regional organizations because they are well recognized by international financial institutions and international aid agencies," Mr Fono said in a press statement.

Fono also called on the Foreign Affairs Minister, Patteson Oti, and National Planning and Aid Co-ordination Minister, Steve Abana, to return home as they would not be making presentations at the forums main meeting and the leaders retreat.

"Although they might attend the post-forum dialogue, set to start tomorrow, the boycott could likely have an adverse impact on their meetings and dialogue as many of these partners have a lot of respect for the forum," said Mr Fono.

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