22 Apr 2005

Peace Corps in Solomon Islands in financial limbo, says US ambassador

6:51 pm on 22 April 2005

The US ambassador dealing with Solomon Islands, Bob Fitts, says financial concerns are behind the continued absence of US Peace Corps volunteers there.

Solomon Islands diplomats has suggested the Peace Corps director was fearful for the safety of volunteers, following the killing of a peacekeeper.

But Mr Fitts says since the Peace Corps left for safety reasons at the start of unrest in 1999, it's been placed on a list of 39 countries worldwide which are being considered.

"Solomon Islands is in that queue, and unfortunately we haven't expanded, or been able to expand, the Peace Corps budget to that extent, so right now, we're, I suppose you could say the Solomon Island programme is in financial limbo."

Mr Fitts says Solomon Islands has a special place in US history; but that's shared by some other countries on the list.

The volunteer organisation maintains an office with two local staff in Solomon Islands.