SOUTH PACIFIC FORUM APPROVES FIJI, SOLOMON ISLANDS EFFORTS TO RESTORE

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NORMALCY

APIA, Samoa (August 12, 2000 – Radio Australia)---Trouble-torn Fiji and the Solomon Islands have won tacit approval from their island neighbors in efforts to restore normalcy in their countries.

Foreign ministers representing the members of the South Pacific Forum have ended a meeting in Samoa by welcoming the cease-fire agreement secured in the Solomons and Fiji's progress towards restoration of law and order.

In a statement released after the meeting in Apia, the Ministers thanked Australia and New Zealand for facilitating negotiations in the Solomons.

They also urged Fiji's interim government to move rapidly to restore constitutional processes and protections and to hold elections as soon as possible.

The Foreign Ministers expressed concern about the widespread availability of firearms throughout the region.

They also said there was a need for regional action to be taken to address the underlying causes of conflict, such as land disputes, ethnicity and socio-economic disparities.

(SEE: NEWS RELEASE: Joint Statement: Forum Foreign Ministers Meeting, Apia, Samoa)

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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