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HONIARA, Solomon Islands (Solomon Star, October 6) – Solomon Islands Minister of Foreign Affairs Patterson Oti has accused his Australian counter-part Alexander Downer of over generalizing corruption in Solomon Islands.

Mr Downer angrily labeled all Solomon Islands politicians as corrupt, including those who have already passed away.

Addressing the parliament on the current diplomatic stand-off between Honiara and Canberra Wednesday, Mr Oti said he met Downer and other world leaders at the recent UN General Assembly Meeting in New York to plainly explain Solomon Islands position in relation to the diplomatic divide between the two countries.

During the meeting, Downer jumped up to label all Solomon Islands politicians as "corrupt".

"The Australian Foreign Minister, drowned in his anger, took the opportunity to label all political leaders in Solomon Islands including those who have already passed away as corrupt. My Australian counterpart, in my view demonstrated a lack of respect and accused us of not showing the pacific way when we expelled his country’s representative," Mr Oti said.

Mr Oti said it is weird to see leaders like Downer demeaning the Pacific Way of dialogue.

"I very much regretted to have observed the demeaning of the much talked about ‘’pacific way’’ by those less qualified to discuss what the ‘’pacific way’’ might have meant in essence to Pacific indigenes," he said.

Mr Oti said it is important that Solomon Islands maintain a consistent and clear position.

He said the Government has adopted a position on the matter, including charting a possible way forward.

The Minister also explained that the point of contention on the issue is basically the terms of references of the Commission of Enquiry into the April riots.

"Australia as we all know has been actively campaigning against the establishment of the Commission of Inquiry, particularly those paragraphs which relate to the case of the two Members of Parliament who are in custody," Mr Oti said.

The Minister said a Commission of Inquiry is a normal mechanism established under the laws of Solomon Islands to investigate the circumstances surrounding a particular event or situation.

"The establishment of the Commission is not only for the sake of transparency and accountability - the very same principles that the members of the international community including Australia have been preaching about, but also as part of its genuine efforts to address the root causes of the riots and the recent ethnic tension, thus enhancing long term peace and stability in the country. We need to address the root causes of these events if we are to ensure sustainable peace, stability and development in our country.

"It is in our national interest to proceed with the Commission, a point reiterated by His Excellency, the Governor-General in his speech to Parliament," he added.

The 8th session of parliament continues this week.

Govt Communication Unit

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