14 Sep 2006

Solomon Islands says it will not back down over expulsion of diplomat

6:29 am on 14 September 2006

The Solomon Islands' Prime Minister is refusing to back down over the expulsion of the Australian High Commissioner from the country.

Manasseh Sogavare declared Patrick Cole persona non grata on Tuesday, accusing him of being heavily involved in local politics.

Last night a meeting between Australian and New Zealand diplomats and the Prime Minister resulted in an agreement to disagree.

Mr Sogavare says he has made it very clear to Australia's government that there's been a serious breakdown in the relationship with Mr Cole.

He says New Zealand is taking a neutral stance on the rift, while Australia needs to be mindful of the Solomons' feelings on the matter.