1 Oct 2002

Australasian mission arrives in Solomons amid concerns about law and order problems

10:33 am on 1 October 2002

Fears that law and order problems in Solomon Islands have further deteriorated has prompted a high level Australasian diplomatic visit which begins today.

It is headed by David Ritchie, a deputy secretary in the Australian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, and Gordon Shroff, Deputy Secretary with responsibility for the Pacific from New Zealand's Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The mission will meet a wide range of groups to discuss the current security, political and economic climate and outlook.

Vince McBride from New Zealand's Ministry of Foreign Affairs says the visit is seen as timely with New Zealand about to send a team of police to Honiara.

He says there is a concern that the situation may be deteriorating.

"It was felt that it was important to have some senior people from New Zealand and Australia pay a visit to assess for themselves whether the situation is in fact getting worse or whether we've just seen some aberrations recently with a number of killings and violent incidents over there."