SPECIAL ENVOY RABUKA LEAVING SOLOMON ISLANDS

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HONIARA, Solomon Islands (July 15, 1999 - PACNEWS)---Sitiveni Rabuka, the mastermind behind the Honiara Peace Accord signed on June 28, will leave the Solomon Islands this weekend.

Foreign Minister Patteson Oti announced that both Commonwealth special envoys Sitiveni Rabuka and his assistant, Professor Ade Adefuye, would be recalled if there is further need for their services.

Briefing journalists and diplomats, Oti paid tribute to the Commonwealth representatives, praising them for their tremendous contribution in constantly engaging the militants to openly discuss their demands.

The focus of the Commonwealth mission this week has been to secure an understanding with the militants that will pave the way for resumption of exports of one of the country's key commodities, palm oil.

Rabuka is meeting with militants at Marau, East Guadalcanal in efforts to re-start production and distribution by Solomon Islands Plantations, Ltd. (SIPL).

Palm Oil produced by SIPL normally earns about 20 percent of the country’s foreign income.

More than 3,000 workers, mostly Malaitans, fled the plantation to Honiara or their home province during the height of months of ethnic violence earlier this year.

The company, a consistence money earner since the 1970’s, is owned by the Commonwealth Development Corporation.

Other major Solomon Island exports are tuna, timber and gold.

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