16 Aug 2002

Former Solomons prime minister accuses Australia of interference

5:15 am on 16 August 2002

A former Solomon Islands prime minister, Manasseh Sogavare, has accused Australia of interfering into his country's domestic affairs by airlifting the prime minister, Sir Allan Kemakeza, to Fiji.

Sir Allan was prevented from flying out of Honiara on Tuesday as scheduled because of action by unpaid workers.

The Australian air force plane picked him up yesterday morning in a move which Mr Sogavare says happened without prior arrangement with the civil aviation, customs and immigration departments.

Mr Sogavare has described the action as a way to protect Australia's strategic interest and the political interest of Sir Allan.