14 Sep 2006

Solomons leader refuses to give ground in diplomatic row with Australia

2:21 pm on 14 September 2006

The Solomon Islands' prime minister, Manasseh Sogavare, is refusing to back down over the expulsion of Australia's High Commissioner, Patrick Cole, after accusing him of being heavily involved in local politics.

A meeting yesterday between the P.M. and two senior diplomats from Australia and New Zealand failed to resolve the dispute.

Mr Sogavare says they've agreed to disagree although he wasn't happy about the way the issue was expressed to him.

"This is about relationships, and we feel that whoever represents Australia here should also be mindful about the way we feel and what the government is doing. There's a lot about sovereignty, and I feel that if there's somebody here who is not acting in a way that is not mindful of mutual interests, then of course, he's unfriendly to Solomon Islands."

Manasseh Sogavare.