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Transcript of joint press conference with Solomon Islands Prime Minister.



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PRIME MINISTER

TRANSCRIPT OF THE PRIME MINISTER THE HON JOHN HOWARD MP JOINT PRESS CONFERENCE WITH SOLOMON ISLANDS PRIME MINISTER, THE HON SIR ALLAN KEMAKEZA MP

Subject: Solomon Islands

E&OE…………………………………………………………………………………

PRIME MINISTER HOWARD:

Ladies and gentlemen, Sir Allan Kemakeza and I have had a meeting this morning to discuss the security situation in the Solomon Islands. It follows a request from the Prime Minister to me and in response to that I invited him to come here this morning. We have had a lengthy discussion which involved his ministers and my ministers. And there’ll be further discussions through the day and I would expect that in the next week a group of officials from Australia will go to the Solomon Islands to have further discussions about not only the security situation but also economic issues which are naturally very important to the long term stability and future of our Pacific neighbour and friend. Australia and the Solomon Islands have been close friends for a long time and we have always tried to play a very active and constructive role in assisting where we can and that continues to be our position. That’s the context of our discussion. The process is ongoing. It will involve further discussions this afternoon between the Prime Minister and his ministers and Mr Downer, the Australian Foreign Minister. And as I say it’s very likely that out of all of that there’ll be a group of Australian officials in the Solomon Islands next week. Prime Minister.

PRIME MINISTER KEMAKEZA:

Well thank you very much. Ladies and gentlemen, I also would like to endorse what the Prime Minister of Australia has said. I’m very grateful and thank him for his acceptance of my delegation to discuss the issue, as he said of the security and economy situation in my country the Solomon Islands. We had a very fruitful discussion. And as he said the officials will be looking at the nitty gritty of the issue and as he said teams will be sent down and I’m very happy for the response I’ve had so far. Thank you.

PRIME MINISTER HOWARD:

Just two questions because I’ve got to get back for Question Time.

JOURNALIST:

[inaudible]

PRIME MINISTER HOWARD:

It’s too early Tom to be talking about anything as specific as that. Obviously there are security issues and there are economic issues and both have to be considered. But at this stage no decisions about any particular action have been taken.

JOURNALIST:

[inaudible]

PRIME MINISTER HOWARD:

Geof, we’re just talking about the security situation.

JOURNALIST:

[inaudible] to restore law and order?

PRIME MINISTER KEMAKEZA:

As John has said we’re still discussing that issue and the officials will look at the nitty gritty of this and then before we come to some conclusion.

[Ends]