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SYDNEY, Australia (ABC News Online, Dec. 28) – Foreign Affairs Minister Alexander Downer says the decision by the Solomons Islands to declare its Australian Police Commissioner persona non grata is a sign of the appalling levels of governance in the country.

The Solomons Government has declared Shane Castles an "undesirable immigrant" in a bid to keep him from returning to the Pacific nation. Mr Castles is currently in Australia on extended leave.

Mr Downer says Australian officials will meet the Solomons Acting Prime Minister to discuss the matter in the next few days.

"All the Solomon Islands police have been trying to do is uphold the law; all the Government has been trying to do is circumvent the law," he said. "The Solomon Islands Government has behaved disgracefully."

The Solomons Foreign Minister says Mr Castles' presence in the Pacific nation is prejudicial to peace, defence, public safety and good governance.

Relations have been tense between Mr Castles and the Solomon Islands Government after he authorised a raid of the offices of the country's Prime Minister, Manasseh Sogavare, in October.

The raid was related to the illegal return to the Solomons of its suspended attorney-general, Julian Moti, an Australian citizen who is wanted here on paedophilia charges.

Mr Castles is the second Australian to be declared unwelcome in the Solomons within 12 months.

Australian High Commissioner Patrick Cole was expelled earlier this year.


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