10 Jun 2003

Solomon Islands reportedly considered asking for Indonesian military help

10:13 am on 10 June 2003

It has been revealed that the Solomon Islands government considered asking Indonesia to send armed forces to help restore law and order.

Sources say the issue was debated within government three weeks ago when the Indonesian ambassador to Solomon Islands presented his letter of credentials in Honiara.

No request was made but officials reportedly considered the option because of the Indonesian military's experience and after Australia and New Zealand repeatedly refused to consider sending armed forces.

Canberra and Wellington regarded the security issue as an internal matter for Solomon Islands to resolve.

The policy change came only days after a visit to Honiara by an Australian parliamentary delegation.

The sources say a request for assistance was also made to the United Nations Security Council but was subsequently withdrawn.