21 Dec 2007

New Solomons PM promises to deport Attorney General

11:15 am on 21 December 2007

The New Solomon Islands leader Dr Derek Sikua has made it clear that the controversial Attorney General Julian Moti will shortly be deported.

Mr Moti, an Australian citizen, has been sought by Australian authorities for more than a year on historical child sex charges.

His presence in the country and the support given him by the former Prime Minister, Manasseh Sogavare, led to a sharp decline in relations with Canberra.

Mr Sikua, who was elected yesterday as the country's fourth prime minister in under two years, told local media that Mr Moti would soon be expelled from Solomon Islands.

"Moti is an Australian citizen and he will be sent back to Australia. We will let the new minister be in place - that is the minister for immigration to be in place - to sign the necessary instruments."

Dr Sikua also told local media that his government was committed to ensuring the independence of the police and the judiciary.

This comes after the previous government dumped a well regarded police commissioner, Australian Shane Castles, sacked a number of judicial officials and brought in Julian Moti, as Attorney General.

Dr Sikua saysthe position of Police Commissioner, Jahir Khan, is also being looked at.

The appointment of the current Commissioner of Police will come under review. We are NO to guns. This country will be better off for being a gun-free society. When we deem the time is right we will consult the people of Solomon Islands on the matter.

Meanwhile, RAMSI Special Coordinator, Tim George has congratulated Mr Sikua

on his election as Prime Minister and pledged to work closely with the new


Mr George said RAMSI shared Prime Minister Sikua's vision of a nation at

peace with itself.

However, he says Solomon Islands still faces many challenges as a nation and there is much hard work to be done.

The Special Coordinator says those challenges include helping the economy to grow, fostering reconciliation and peace between various communities, and restoring the people's faith in government through a more open and transparent system, as well as working to get rid of corruption.

Mr George says RAMSI looks forward to playing the appropriate role in supporting the new government's efforts to deal with those challenges.