16 Aug 2002

Forum retreat to focus on Solomons issue

10:55 am on 16 August 2002

The New Zealand prime minister, Helen Clark, says today's leaders' retreat at the Pacific Islands Forum in Fiji will pay special attention to the situation in Solomon Islands.

She says Solomons is probably the biggest regional issue on the agenda, with leaders trying to find a way to mobilise support for the country to get back on track.

The retreat at Pacific Harbour, near Suva, will allow for informal discussions among the region's 16 leaders.

Miss Clark says the situation in Solomon Islands is very difficult, with an economy that is barely existing.

"When you have a break-down of law and order and banditry it's very difficult to get development going. So most of the donor countries have seen effective policing as the number one step."

Helen Clark.