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SYDNEY, Australia (ABC News Online, Aug. 14) - Prime Minister
John Howard has welcomed the surrender of Solomon Islands militant leader,
Harold Keke.

Keke and three of his men gave themselves up after talks with
Nick Warner, the head of Australian-led intervention force in the Solomons.

Keke has since been arrested on outstanding warrant for robbery,
but investigations have begun into a string of other alleged crimes, including

Howard said it is a significant breakthrough in efforts to
restore law and order in the Solomons.

"Keke's surrender is very good news," he said.
"It means that there's been a big mood shift in the Solomons and people
realize that the world is going to be different, it's going to be more
optimistic and it's a very good development."

Solomon Islands Prime Minister Sir Allan Kemakeza also
congratulated the Australian-led intervention force on Keke's surrender.

"That's a very big breakthrough," he said.
"There's no reason why other militants should not surrender their

New Zealand's Foreign Minister, Phil Goff, said Keke would be
held on HMAS Manoora for his own protection until he could face a court
of law.

August 14, 2003

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