28 Mar 2003

Solomons changes Iraq policy for second time in three days

3:52 pm on 28 March 2003

The Solomon Islands government is expected to shortly change its position on the Iraq war for the second time this week.

Earlier this week, the Solomon Islands government issued a statement, saying it did not back the US coalition against Iraq, despite appearing on a US list of supporters.

That move surprised American officials who said they had been led to believe the Solomons backed the US campaign to topple Saddam Hussein and free Iraq of weapons of mass destruction.

A new enlarged list of 49 countries has now been issued and Solomon Islands is again included, with the US Ambassador, Susan Jacobs, saying the government of Sir Allen Kemakeza has recommitted to the coalition.

"I've been in discussions with the Prime Minister, and Foreign Minister, who have told me that they will be retracting their disavowal of support, and reinforcing their support of the coalition."

Susan Jacobs says the US has not offered the Solomon Islands any aid over the issue.

She says she believes that the government changed its view because it is the right thing to do.