7 Jul 2003

Solomon Islands celebrate Independence Day

6:51 am on 7 July 2003

Solomon Islanders today celebrate 25 years of independence from Britain.

Today's public holiday comes one day ahead of a special Parliamentary session at which MPs will consider temporarily ceding some powers to an Australian led intervention force.

Don Wiseman has more..

"Today's events will feature a parade through Honiara culminating in a speech to the nation from Prime Minister,Sir Allen Kemakeza."

Opposition MPs already in Honiara for tomorrow's session of Parliament are understood to have finally been given the government's policy statement on what its taskforce says the intervention should focus on......A government source says the others will receive the document when they arrive at Parliament tomorrow.

This is despite the Government saying last month it was delaying the session until tomorrow in part to allow MPs to study the proposal.

The Prime Minister has already indicated that the taskforce is calling for a short amnesty for ex-militants to hand in their illegally held guns..

Australian Foreign Minister, Alexander Downer ,says the force will not be under the control of the Solomons Government...he says it will obey Solomons laws but Australian authorities will have the final say in operational matters.