9 Oct 2002

Former Solomon rebel spokesman says TPA breached by government

2:57 pm on 9 October 2002

One of the architects of the Townsville Peace Agreement in Solomon Islands says former Malaitan rebels are angry because the Government has breached the document.

The TPA, which formally ended hostilities two years ago, is to be celebrated by the Government next week, but lawyer Andrew Nori, says this breach was behind a threatening letter from former Malaitan Eagle Force commanders published last week.

That letter said they would not hand over their guns and warned police against trying to recover them by force, .

Mr Nori, who was the spokesman for the MEF during the ethnic unrest, says it is well known that guns surrendered during the amnesty have been dumped in Iron Bottom Sound.

He says this was done with the backing of the Prime Minister, the International Peace Monitors and the Peace Monitoring Council.

But Mr Nori says first the TPA should have been reviewed, with a decision reached then on what should happen to the weapons.

"So in other words by breaking into the containers ahead of that review, the national government, the peace monitoring council, and the international peace monitoring team, had breached the TPA in a substantial way, that is the concern of the former militants."