25 Nov 2004

Vanuatu cabinet reshuffled amid PM's Taiwan controversy

4:44 pm on 25 November 2004

Vanuatu's prime minister, Serge Vohor, has reshuffled his cabinet and removed Barak Sope from the foreign affairs portfolio.

Marcellino Pepete is the new foreign minister while Mr Sope is now the lands minister.

Mr Sope says the change came because he was against Mr Vohor's controversial diplomatic recognition of Taiwan earlier this month.

Meanwhile, the opposition has tabled a motion of no-confidence in Mr Vohor's government which will be debated next Thursday.

It's still not clear whether Mr Vohor's decision can be overturned by his ministers.

And Mr Sope says cabinet ministers don't agree with the prime minister.

"I think some of the actions that he's doing are not making members of the Council of Ministers happy, for instance, for allowing the Taiwanese vice-minister for foreign affairs to come to Vanuatu - and he's in Vila at the moment - and also not wanting to let the Taiwanese take away their flag."

Barak Sope