28 Dec 2006

Australia's Foreign Minister Downer comments on Police Commissioner sacking

2:50 pm on 28 December 2006

The Australian Foreign Minister, Alexander Downer, says he's disappointed by reports that the Solomon Islands Police Commissioner, Shane Castles, has been declared an undesirable immigrant.

Mr Castles, who is Australian, was serving as Solomon Islands Police Commissioner through a bilateral arrangement between the Australian and Solomon Islands Governments.

Mr Downer says he's very disappointed by the reports which reached the Australian High Commission in Honiara second-hand.

He says Mr Castles was provided to the Solomon Islands Government at its request to serve as Commissioner of the Solomon Islands Police Force for two years.

Mr Downer says the Solomon Islands Government provided no advance notice of its intention to declare Mr Castles an 'undesirable immigrant' and he is seeking a full explanation owed to both Mr Castles and the Australian Government.

The Australian High Commission is seeking further clarification and a

full explanation from the Solomon Islands Department of Foreign Affairs.