VANUATU GOVERNMENT: AUSTRALIAN LAWYER MAY RETURN

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Aussie was expelled for alleged espionage last month

MELBOURNE, Australia (Radio Australia, June 21, 2011) - Vanuatu's interim government says an Australian lawyer expelled last month for alleged espionage will be welcome back if the government comprehensively changes hands.

Ari Jenshel was given 24 hours to leave Vanuatu or else face arrest under charges of espionage.

Mr. Jenshel had been working in Vanutu as an adviser for the Australian aid agency, Ausaid, when he was expelled by the government of former Prime Minister Sato Kilman.

The incident raised diplomatic tensions between Vanuatu and Australia.

Joe Natuman, interim foreign minister under the Edward Natape interim government, says there was no basis to the accusations of espionage.

"We would welcome him back. We don't see any evidence of whatever those charges were."

Mr. Jenshel would give no further details on his expulsion but said he is open to returning to Vanuatu if he is invited by the government.

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