Solomons PM Position On Japanese Whaling ‘Unclear’

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Lilo voices support for scientific, not commercial, whaling

MELBOURNE, Australia (Radio Australia, May 16, 2012) – Solomon Islands' Prime Minister Gordon Darcy Lilo has left the door open to once again supporting Japan's annual whale harvest.

The statement was made as Mr. Lilo prepared to leave for the sixth "Pacific Alliance Leader's Meeting", in Japan, where nations from around the region lobby for financial aid.

On the eve of his departure to the meeting in Japan, Solomons' Prime Minister, Gordon Darcy Lilo was asked if he was prepared to support Japan's whaling program in return for aid and development assistance.

Mr. Lilo said he is opposed to commercial whaling, but indicated scientific whaling is acceptable.

"There needs to be scientific research," he said.

When asked at a media conference to say whether or not the Solomons government was going to support Japan's whaling program. Mr. Lilo would not give a definitive answer.

"I'm not going to answer that question in that way, because you're asking a direct question."

In 2008, the then Solomon Islands' Prime Minister Derek Sikua announced his government was changing its position on supporting Japanese whaling and twice since then it has abstained from voting on the issue at the International Whaling Commission.

Australia opposed to scientific whaling

Australia's Parliamentary Secretary for Pacific and Foreign Affairs, Richard Marles, says he's hopeful Solomon Islands will remain opposed to whaling.

He says the Solomon Islands' Prime Minister's position on Japan's whaling program is still not clear.

He says Australia does not support scientific whaling.

"To the extent that anybody is supporting a position of scientific whaling, where whales are being killed, then obviously that's a position that we do not support, and we have made our position in relation to Japan clear," he said.

"If indeed that is where any country is going, and there is a change in position in relation to that, then obviously we'd be disappointed about that."

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