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Regenvanu joins churches, chiefs, NGOs in opposition

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, ) – Vanuatu’s minister of justice, Ralph Regenvanu, has told parliament he will vote against the ratification of the country acceding to the World Trade Organization because his constituency is opposed to it.

Mr. Regenvanu told parliament last night during the ratification debate that he has advocate against joining the WTO for 16 years.

He says supports the stand being by the Vanuatu Council of Churches, the Malfatumauri National Council of Chiefs and local and overseas non-government organizations.

Mr. Regenvanu will join 20 Opposition MPs who are all expected to oppose the ratification bill.

[PIR editors note: Prime Minister Sato Kilman struck back against the Council of Churches, saying the church body bribed Opposition members to attend a workshop opposing membership in the WTO, adding that finding out where the council found the money to pay these allowances would be "interesting." In turn, church leaders have called for a commission of inquiry into the allegations of bribery. Vanuatu Christian Councils Bishop James Ligo says bribery goes against church principles, although he believes it is the church’s place to advise the government on matters important to the people of Vanuatu.]

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