15 Oct 2002

Vanuatu warned about police instability

11:33 am on 15 October 2002

A high level Australasian delegation to Vanuatu has told groups in the country that an ongoing conflict in the Vanuatu police could undermine the country's international credibility.

The diplomats spent several days in Vanuatu last week after fears that the charging of senior police with mutiny, and earlier conspiracy charges against public officials, could destabilise the country.

New Zealand Foreign Affairs Deputy Secretary for the Pacific, Gordon Shroff, says Vanuatu is in a fragile state, but nothing like the grim situation faced by neighbouring Solomon Islands.

He says the team was impressed that the mutiny charges were being resolved through the courts, but he says the instability within the police is a concern.

"One of the points the team made to, the people in vanuatu to whom we talked, was that externally, in australia, in newzealand, and further afield, people read of these events, and it has a damaging effect on vanuatus credibility and desirability as a place for tourists to go and investors to invest and all the rest of it."