Thanks Editor for allowing me space in your column to comment on Hilda's posting from Canberra, which I stand to be corrected must be a Solomon Islander, on the above topic.

While cooperation with Australia and NZ are crucial to development in the small Pacific Island Countries including Solomon Islands, it is risky to allow our development aspirations and decision-making to be guided and dictated by policies from Canberra and Wellington. Dialogue should be the way forward to reaching consensus on the situation in Fiji and if Prime Minister Banimarama does not want OZ and NZ, to be part of discussions, that must be respected to avoid any boycotting.

Melanesian countries and other Forum member states should sit together with Fiji to discuss the best possible way forward. Banimarama knows very well the importance of democracy in Fiji and we do not have to tell him that. This is the problem with OZ and NZ. They look down on us thinking that they can just do whatever they like with us especially with interferring into domestic affairs of states in the region. Respect for state sovereignty is at stake here and we must be extra cautious and vigilant when we decided to go along with the two policmen in the region.

And for our PM Sikua, I don't think it is a good idea to use the media to call on Fiji to hold the elections in 2009. Negative implications and perceptions on us, SOlomon Islands, by our Melanesian neighboours and all other PICs is what we must at all cost avoid; our solidarity and partnership must be maintained and consolidated.

Hem nomoa.