11 May 2004

Solomon Islands PM praises football as a catalyst to national reconciliation

10:14 am on 11 May 2004

The Solomon Islands prime minister, Sir Allan Kamakeza, has said soccer is responsible for keeping the country together during the recent ethnic social unrest.

He was speaking at the opening of the Oceania Football

Confederation qualifying for the 2006 soccer World Cup,

now underway in Honiara.

Sir Allan says football is Solomon Islands' national game and his government attatches a lot of importance to its developement.

He says he's glad the Solomon Islands Football Federation

is hosting the regional tournament, and he hopes the competition will lead to further development to the national game.

Sir Allan says the hosting of the tournament should be seen as part and parcel of the country's efforts towards national reconciliation, and the rebuilding process.

The Prime minister added it is a privilige and an honour for Solomon Islands to host the regional soccer tournament, because it comes with a responsibility to treat the South Pacific guests well both on and off the field.