SOLOMONS GOVERNMENT CLAIMS ETHNIC TENSION A PLOT TO DESTABILIZE REFORMS

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HONIARA, Solomon Islands (February 25, 2000 – Radio Australia)---The Solomon Islands government says the ethnic tension on Guadalcanal is an opposition plan to destabilize its economic reform program.

Radio Australia Pacific correspondent Kevin McQuillan reports that the government is outlining its view of the unrest in local newspapers.

"Since the signing of the Honiara Peace Accord 17 months ago, the government has been frustrated at the failure of the Isatambu Freedom Fighters on Guadalcanal to hand in their weapons, and by the emergence of a new group, the Malaita Eagle Force.

"The document alleges a former prime minister, the late Solomon Mamaloni, instigated the unrest while opposition leader, with the support of Asian logging companies which were the losers when the present government suspended concessions and tax remissions.

"It alleges Mr. Mamaloni found support from Guadalcanal’s Premier Ezekiel Alebua, from whose electorate the Isatambu Freedom Fighters originated.

"It says it's publishing the document because it wants the public to know the real cause of the conflict, and to assure them the government will not go back to the cronyism of the Mamaloni era and will not abandon its reform agenda.

 

SOLOMON ISLANDS GOVERNMENT NAMES THOSE ALLEGEDLY BEHIND UNREST

HONIARA, Solomon Islands (February 25, 2000 – Radio Australia)---The Solomon Islands government has named the people it considers responsible for fomenting ethnic unrest on Guadalcanal.

In the first of a series of articles published in both main newspapers this morning, the government said former Prime Minister Solomon Mamaloni, and Guadalcanal Premier Ezekiel Alebua have played key roles in the trouble.

Minister of State Alfred Sasako said the government has decided it has to place the full facts before the people, to find a long-lasting solution to the situation.

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

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