JOINT PEACE OPERATION ON GUADALCANAL

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HONIARA, Solomon Islands (November 2, 1999 – Radio Australia)---An international effort to restore peace and law and order on Guadalcanal Island begins today, after months of ethnic conflict between local residents and immigrants from neighboring Malaita.

The 20 strong international peace monitoring group from Fiji and Vanuatu will work together with Solomons police to set up weapons collection points.

The international group will monitor the work of local police and the activities of local militant groups, in accordance with the Honiara Peace Accord, signed in August.

Police Commissioner Rangi Rangihika has appealed to militants to hand in their weapons. He said most villagers want peace.

"There is a will there, but it's a cultural problem that is on going in relation to traditional lands.

"It'll take some time to resolve, some years, I believe," Rangihika said.

"But there is a will out there, because some of the people out there posing as militants are in fact criminals taking advantage of the situation. And they're simply stealing not only off the city people but also off their own people. And the information I've been getting from the villagers is that they’ve had enough of this and they want to resolve it.

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

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