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WELLINGTON, New Zealand (RNZI, Feb. 2) - The European Union says it will release millions of dollars in assistance to the Solomon Islands, money which had been withheld because of accountability concerns prompted by the ethnic tension in the late 1990s.

The EU office in Honiara made the statement ahead of tomorrow’s arrival in the country of EU Aid Commissioner Paul Nielson.

It says this will mark the gradual release of US$81 million for a range of projects and is seen as a sign of confidence in the government’s policies.

The visit is a follow-up on the international donors’ conference in Honiara last year.

Mr Nielson will be accompanied by the New Zealand aid minister, Marion Hobbs, who is expected to make a joint announcement with the EU.

February 2, 2004

Radio New Zealand International:


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