Tuesday, 9 October 2007 9:15 AM

PM Sogavare Boycotts Pacific Leaders Meeting

Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare is reportedly boycotting this year's Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) leaders summit.

Reports claim Mr. Sogavare's boycott of the meeting is in protest of a Pacific Islands Forum-run review on the regional assistance mission in the Pacific island country.

The review, demanded by Mr. Sogavare last year, found the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands (RAMSI)was a positive influence in the Solomons.

Leaked copies show it has found RAMSI has been, and still, a positive influence in Solomon Islands on law and order and governance, and should continue, according to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) radio.

Secretary to the Prime Minister, Rence Sore, was quoted as stating that in retaliation, Mr. Sogavare will boycott next week's Pacific Leader's meeting in Tonga.

Solomon Islands Parliamentary Opposition Leader, Fred Fono, in view of the boycott, said Mr. Sogavare owes it to other regional leaders, who have given their support for a review, to explain why he's unhappy.

Mr. Fono said any leader in his right mind should attend the Pacific forum to explain clearly the position of the government.

The Solomon Islands Government is to review the legislation which allows RAMSI to operate.

RAMSI began operations in 2003, after being invited to the country by the then government.

Meanwhile, SIBC news quotes Mr. Sogavare as stating that reason for his
non-attendance of the Pacific Forum is because "it comes at an awkward time of his travel plans".

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