MELBOURNE, Australia (Radio Australia, July 30) - The militia group that has virtually controlled Solomon Islands' capital Honiara for the past three years, has agreed to surrender its weapons.

The Malaita Eagle Force (MEF) has reached an agreement with the head of the Australian-led intervention force, Nick Warner, to hand its weapons over next month.

Our reporter in the Solomons, Sean Dorney, says Warner met with Jimmy Rasta, and other leaders of the Malaita Eagle Force, in Auki, the capital of the Malaita province.

They emerged from the meeting with an agreement that the members of the Malaita militia will give up their guns to the Premier on August 15.

August 15 is a special day for the province as it's the anniversary of the devolution of certain powers to the provincial government.

Rasta says his boys will be granted an amnesty for the possession of firearms.

The special coordinator Nic Warner says no special deal has been done and that a gun amnesty was already being planned.

Warner has described the agreement as an important step forward to restoring law and order in the Solomons.

July 31, 2003

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