18 Dec 2002

Australian foreign minister arrives in Honiara

6:28 am on 18 December 2002

The Australian foreign minister, Alexander Downer, has arrived in Honiara for a brief visit.

Despite the political wrangling, he is due to meet the prime minister, Sir Allan Kemakeza, and the foreign minister, Laurie Chan, and depending on the length of the no-confidence debate, he is also due to meet the opposition leader, Patteson Oti.

Mr Downer says he hopes, through his discussions in Honiara, to see if there are better ways to structure Australia's aid programmes.

He says Australia's concern is the stability of Solomon Islands and its capacity to rebuild its economy.

Mr Downer will leave Honiara for Vanuatu later today.