TALKS CONTINUE IN SOLOMON ISLANDS ON PROPOSED PEACE SUMMIT

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HONIARA, Solomon Islands (April 12, 2000 – Radio Australia)---Talks are under way in the Solomon Islands to persuade Guadalcanal militant leaders to take part in a major peace summit later this month.

Radio Australia Pacific correspondent Kevin McQuillan reports that the Commonwealth Special Envoy is in eastern Guadalcanal, the militants' stronghold.

"Major General Sitiveni Rabuka is talking this week with government and militant leaders in an effort to head off an increasingly tense situation, which if unchecked could disintegrate into civil war.

"This afternoon he's at the village of Balasuna in eastern Guadalcanal where he's hoping to persuade the Isatambu Freedom Fighters to attend a peace summit, proposed for Isabelle Province over Easter.

"This morning he met with Malaitan Premier David Oeta, who says he's confident the rival three month old Malaitan Eagle Force will be attending. "Kevin McQuillan, Radio Australia"

 

GUADALCANAL CONFLICT PARTIES TO HOLD PRELIMINARY TALKS: RABUKA

HONIARA, Solomon Islands (April 11, 2000 – Radio Australia)---The Commonwealth's special envoy to the proposed Solomon Islands peace summit, Sitiveni Rabuka, has suggested the parties involved in the ethnic conflict on Guadalcanal hold preliminary reconciliation talks at a neutral venue.

Mr. Rabuka discussed the idea with Solomon Islands Prime Minister Bartholomew Ulufa‘alu at a meeting in Honiara yesterday.

The peace summit proper is expected to be held outside the country.

Early today, Mr. Rabuka told the Premier of Malaita Province, David Oeta, the initial meeting would be held at Buala, the provincial capital of Isabel Province, during the Easter break.

Mr. Oeta said his provincial government would support whatever actions were taken toward finding a peaceful end to the 18-month-old conflict.

 

SOLOMONS PEACE SUMMIT TO INVOLVE LARGE DELEGATIONS

HONIARA, Solomon Islands (April 11, 2000 – Radio Australia)---Commonwealth peace negotiator Sitiveni Rabuka says he is confident a forthcoming Solomon Islands summit can end the 18-month-old conflict on Guadalcanal.

The summit is expected to involve 80 delegates from Guadalcanal and Malaita provinces, along with representatives from the national government.

Mr. Rabuka says he wants the leaders of the outlawed militant groups involved in the conflict to be included in the provincial delegations.

There is no indication whether officials from Guadalcanal will include the Isatambu Freedom Movement militants in its 40-member delegation.

However, Malaita's Premier David Oeta says the militant Malaita Eagle Force will be represented by lawyer Andrew Nori.

Thousands of Malaitans fled their homes on Guadalcanal when fighting broke out between ethnic militant groups over land rights and jobs.

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

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