SOLOMONS LAWMAKERS URGE LEADER TO MEET MARA

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Prime Minister Philip has vowed not to speak with Fiji crusader

MELBOURNE, Australia (Radio Australia, Aug. 10, 2011) – The Solomon Islands opposition has called on Prime Minister Danny Philip to hold talks with former Fijian military leader Ratu Tevita Mara.

It comes after the government issued a statement saying Philip would not hold any official contact with Ratu Mara on Fiji's political situation.

In an interview with Pacific Beat, Deputy Opposition Leader Mathew Wale labelled the Prime Minister's decision "narrow minded".

"I think he really should talk to Ratu Mara, especially because Mara was a close associate of [Fiji Prime Minister] Bainimarama. But also to get a closer understanding of the dynamics within Fiji and to have an appreciation for what the Fijians themselves are thinking."

Mr Wale said it was important for the country's leaders to hold "broad consultations" with people associated with Melanesian Spearhead Group countries.

Ratu Mara fled Fiji earlier this year as he faced charges of mutiny and trying to overthrow the military government of Commodore Frank Bainimarama.

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