26 Jan 2007

Solomon Islands to protest during bilateral talks in PNG

5:07 pm on 26 January 2007

The Solomon Islands Foreign Minister has flown to Papua New Guinea to protest over remarks that his country's a speck in the ocean.

Patteson Oti is expected to hand a diplomatic protest note to his PNG counterpart, Paul Teinsten, during talks over the Julian Moti inquiry.

Also high on the the agenda is whether the PNG defence force inquiry can be heard in Honiara rather than Port Moresby next week, where Mr Moti's been called as a witness.

Our correspondent in Port Moresby, Alex Rheeney, explains.

"The issue is whether the inquiry will have the jurisdiction to actually sit in Solomon Islands. Also on the agenda will be the fact that the chairman of the inquiry, during proceedings last week, described the Solomon Islands as a speck in the ocean, when alluding to Solomon Islands inability to monitor its borders effectively to stop the Moti flight from taking place."

The inquiry team is focusing on three high-ranking government officials who are believed to have been involved in ordering the military flight on October 10th.