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SYDNEY, Australia (ABC News Online, June 6) - Following a summit
meeting with government officials from the Solomon Islands in Canberra
yesterday, Australian Prime Minister John Howard announced a delegation will go
to the Solomons next week to continue talks.

The two nations are looking for solutions to the Solomons’
continuing problem with lawlessness.

Solomon Islands Prime Minister Allan Kemakeza said talks will
continue to consider whether Australian police could be deployed to the country.

Howard said the lengthy discussions at The Lodge, his Canberra
residence, also involved ministers from both governments.

"There'll be further discussions through the day and I
would expect that next week a group of officials from Australia will go to
Solomon Islands to have further discussions about not only the security
situation but also economic issues, which are naturally very important to the
long-term stability and future of our Pacific neighbor and friend," he

Foreign Minister Alexander Downer said other members of the
Pacific Islands Forum would be consulted.

Downer has told Parliament no decisions have yet been taken but
Australia will consider practical proposals from the Kemakeza administration.

"We don't want to let countries' constitutions and
political environments deteriorate to such an extent that they become
unmanageable, that their economies in turn collapse," he said.

"Our real concern with the Solomon Islands isn't just as a
matter of the law and order situation on the ground but the consequences that
flow from that: The difficulty they are having in running their central bank, in
running their finance ministry; the problems they have in just running
businesses day by day."

June 6, 2003

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