NEW ZEALAND PRIME MINISTER ‘AGHAST’ AT SOLOMONS CABINET

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HONIARA, Solomon Islands (SIBC, May 8) – New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark says she is "aghast" at the appointment of two Solomon Islands Members of Parliament accused of inciting last month's violent riots into the Solomon Islands cabinet.

Solomon Islands Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare has handed to Charles Dausabea the police and national security portfolio, and to Nelson Ne'e, Culture and Tourism.

Both were arrested and charged with inciting the riots that erupted in Honiara last month after Snyder Rini was elected prime minister amid corruption allegations. Mr. Rini resigned after a week in office as Prime Minister.

Mr. Sogavare has said that there was nothing wrong with the appointments, as the charges against the ministers were unsubstantiated and unproven.

But Helen Clark said the appointments risked further damaging the already fragile international reputation of Solomon Islands.

Overseas reports say there's going to be very strong views from New Zealand that these appointments would have serious ramifications, not only for the Solomon Islands but also for its international reputation.

Australia's foreign minister Alexander Downer has also condemned the appointments as surprising and disappointing.

Mr. Sogavare has said the appointments were a collective government decision, but he would be open to discussions with Mr. Downer and New Zealand Foreign Minister Winston Peters when they visit Solomon Islands later this month.

May 9, 2006

Solomon Islands Broadcasting Corp.: http://www.sibconline.com.sb/

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