HONIARA BANKS MAY CLOSE FOLLOWING NEW THREATS

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HONIARA, Solomon Islands (February 1, 2001 - Solomon Islands Broadcasting Corporation/PINA Nius Online)---Former militants getting angry about a bank's refusal to cash a Solomon Islands government check has led to the possible closure of all banks in the capital.

The former militants are said to have threatened staff at the ANZ Bank when told a government check would not be cashed because there was not enough money in the account to which it was made out.

The banks operating in Honiara - ANZ, Westpac, National Bank of Solomon Islands, and the Development Bank - have an agreement that if one is threatened they will all close in support.

SIBC reported that yesterday the National Bank of Solomon Islands and the Development Bank made a public announcement that the bank will be closed today and ANZ Bank’s closure was confirmed by an employee.

Bank managers have asked the government to provide security. They have also asked leaders of the former militant forces to try to help stop the threats.

The government has been involved in heavy payouts following the Townsville Peace Agreement, which ended two years of ethnic conflict between the Malaita Eagle Force and the Isatabu Freedom Movement on Guadalcanal, the island on which Honiara is located.

 

SIR PETER APPEALS TO MALAITAN LEADERS TO HELP ASSURE PEACE

HONIARA, Solomon Islands (January 1, 2001 - Solomon Islands Broadcasting Corporation/PINA Nius Online)---The chairman of the Solomon Islands Peace Monitoring Council, Sir Peter Kenilorea, has appealed to Malaitan leaders to help stop continuing threats to the peace process.

He urged the Malaita provincial government, churches and village leaders to use their influence to encourage former militants to surrender their guns, return stolen properties and end petty crimes.

Sir Peter made the call during a tour of Malaita province by members of the council. It was part of the follow up to the Townsville Peace Agreement to end two years of ethnic conflict, mainly involving Guadalcanal and Malaitan militant forces.

The Council's Newsletter," Peace Monitor," quoted Sir Peter as having told the leaders that "people are tired of guns and crime."

People in areas visited told the council they want peace, and development and assistance in communications, roads, education and health.

In response, Sir Peter explained to the people that assistance will not go to Malaita and investors will not consider new business industry if the guns are still around.

He said they will only go there if the guns are surrendered and threats and intimidation stops.

The Newsletter reports that people of Malu'u, Atori, Afio and Rohinari have demonstrated a strong commitment to disarmament.

Sir Peter told villagers the Peace Monitoring Council cannot succeed without help. He said this country belongs to its people and it is up to them to decide on their future destiny.

For additional reports from the Solomon Islands Broadcasting Corporation, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Radio/TV News/Solomon Islands Broadcasting Corporation.

Pacific Islands News Association (PINA) Website: http://www.pinanius.org 

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