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Statement on the Solomon Islands.

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Senator Meg Lees Parliamentary Leader and Senator for South Australia

Press Release Dated: 8 Jun 2000

Press Release Number: 00/335

Portfolio: Foreign Affairs Related: Defence

Statement on the Solomon Islands The Australian Democrats commend the Government for taking steps to ensure the safety of Australian nationals. We do hope that this action is undertaken successfully and with no casualties on either side.

We note with approval that Australia is not taking part in any other security action and that activity is limited to evacuation at this stage.

However, the Australian Democrats are concerned that the situation has been allowed to deteriorate to the extent that it has. The Democrats are of the view that if police had been sent earlier, as requested, and as part of a coordinated response, this full-scale violent situation may have been averted.

The Australian Democrats use this opportunity to express again our long-held concern that the Defence Forces have been too focused on training for war rather than peacekeeping. We urge that the ADF now give greater emphasis to peacekeeping activities.

Australia is a leader in the region, and we are seen as such by the smaller Pacific nations, whether we like it or not.

We must use our leadership role to assist in bringing back, and securing, democracy in the Pacific region.

We now call on the Australian Government to assist in organising some credible and independent mediation, as General Rabuka, who had undertaken this role, is occupied with Fiji at the moment.

Australian Democrats wish the crew of HMAS Tobruk, and all Australians now in the Solomon Islands and caught up in this extremely regrettable situation, a safe and speedy return.


Top | Email Authorised by: Jim Downey, 10 Brisbane Avenue, Barton ACT 2604. Copyright © 2000 Australian Democrats Last modified: Thu, 18 May 2000 13:51:26 Today: Tue, 13 Jun 2000 12:19:59