5 Jul 2003

Solomons opposition MP says the country needs all the help it can get

9:12 am on 5 July 2003

A Solomon Islands Opposition MP says any offers of help for the country should be accepted.

Alfred Sasako was speaking after Australian Prime Minister John Howard appeared to rule out French involvement in the planned intervention force, saying it needed to be kept under the Pacific Islands Forum banner.

However, his Foreign Minister Alexander Downer has since said French assistance would be welcome.

Mr Sasako says the extent of the problems facing Solomon Islands, in health and education and other sectors, is so great that any offers of help should be taken up.

"I think the interest that is being indicated, particularly by France, and if there others, like Japan and Taiwan showing similar interest, they should be encouraged and perhaps should be given a particular sector that they should direct their resource in."

Alfred Sasako.

Meanwhile, the chairman of a Solomon's taskforce on intervention, Paul Tavua, says people in the Solomons want the intervention force to restore law and order in the country.

People are demanding that this kind of assistance or intervention should come much earlier and I hope and trust that parliament, in its good sense, will see fit to pass the legislation as well as endorsing the policy statement by the government.

Paul Tavua, the chairman of the Solomon's taskforce on intervention.

The three day National Unity Summit agreed unanimously to the despatch of the Australian-led intervention force but has called for a proper entrance and exit strategy to be in place before the force leaves for Solomon Islands.