SOLOMONS LEADER CANCELS AUSSIE INQUIRY JUDGE

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WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, Sept. 18) – The Solomon Island’s Prime Minister , Manasseh Sogavare, says he has cancelled the appointment of a former Australian, judge Marcus Einfeld, as head of the inquiry into riots in the capital Honiara.

The announcement was made during a national radio broadcast.

The AAP news agency quoted Mr Einfeld as saying later that he accepted the Prime Minister’s decision and had already planned to quit the inquiry.

Mr Sogavare said he would replace Mr Einfeld with a retired Papua New Guinean judge, who he did not name.

Mr Einfeld has reportedly come under pressure from Canberra to step down from the riots inquiry.

He is being investigated by Australian police for alleged perjury after he tried to get off a traffic fine.

During the radio broadcast, Mr Sogavare also defended his expulsion of Australian High Commissioner to the Solomon Islands, Patrick Cole.

He has accused the Australian government of trying to stop his inquiry because it could point the finger of blame at Australian police commanders for failing to stop the rioting.

The Prime Minister, who is due to leave for the UN General Assembly in New York on tomorrow, said New Zealand’s Foreign Minister, Winston Peters, had offered to negotiate between Honiara and Canberra to solve the diplomatic stalemate.

He said he would meet with Mr Peters while they were both in New York.

September 18, 2006

Radio New Zealand International: www.rnzi.com

 

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