AUSTRALIAN OFFICIALS WILLING TO MEET SOLOMONS MILITIA

SYDNEY, Australia (ABC News Online, July 28) - The Australian diplomat heading the Solomon Islands intervention force says he is willing to meet the main militant leaders from the island of Malaita.

The founders of the Malaita Eagle Force (MEF) issued the invitation to Nick Warner in an interview with the ABC's Sean Dorney.

The Malaita Eagle Force took over the capital, Honiara, in a joint operation with elements of the police force three years ago.

Members of the MEF have still got guns and up until very recently they were still in Honiara.

Yesterday, back on Malaita, the leaders said they wanted to meet with Warner, the special coordinator of the intervention force.

Warner says he is happy to speak to anyone and is willing to meet the MEF leaders in their territory if they want.

The intervention force has not yet sent any members to Malaita but Warner says he will go to the leaders if necessary.

"I'm happy to meet them there subject to security being sufficiently guaranteed," he said.

The Malaita Eagle Force commanders are asking for a 30-day gun amnesty.

July 29, 2003

ABC News Online: http://abc.net.au/news 

 

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