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HONIARA, Solomon Islands (September 7, 1999 – Radio Australia)---The Solomon Islands government is preparing to move field police back into rural Guadalcanal later this week, if Isatambu Freedom Fighter militants fail to turn in their weapons by a new Thursday deadline.

Under an international agreement negotiated by the Commonwealth's special envoy, former Fiji Prime Minister Sitiveni Rabuka, the militants were to have turned in their weapons by September 2.

However, no weapons have been handed in, a situation the Special Minister of State, Alfred Sasako, says is "extremely disappointing" and a new deadline has been set

Under the agreement, he said, the government can move its security forces back into the area controlled by militants if the deadline is not met.

"We've withdrawn all police operations and we were expecting the militants to reciprocate that by laying down arms. Now they have not done that."

As a result, Sasako said, if the new deadline is not met, "police operations will resume."

For additional reports from Radio Australia, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Radio/TV News/Radio Australia.

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