MALAITA EAGLE FORCE ISSUES ULTIMATUM TO RIVAL OVER CEASEFIRE TALKS

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HONIARA, Solomon Islands (July 14, 2000 – Radio Australia)---The Malaita Eagle Force in Solomon Islands has set out the conditions under which it and the police Joint Operation will take part in ceasefire talks.

The government of Manasseh Sogavare is pressing ahead with plans for ceasefire talks, despite the murder on Monday of two Isatabu Freedom Movement members in their hospital beds.

It's hoped ceasefire talks will begin within the week.

But Malaita Eagle Force leader, Andrew Nori, says there are pre-conditions.

"First of all the IFM need to revoke their earlier statement that they do not recognize the present government," he said. "Secondly the statement made last Friday by the acting premier of Guadalcanal province that unless certain compensations are paid they were not willing to take part in any ceasefire talks. And then for all the commanders of the IFM to be present at any talks. If they fulfill those conditions, the Malaita Eagle Force and the Joint Operation are willing to participate."

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

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