16 Nov 2004

Senior Vanuatu Minister confirms splits remain over the offer of diplomatic recognition for Taiwan

7:23 pm on 16 November 2004

The Vanuatu Government is still split over the Prime Minister's offer of diplomatic recognition for Taiwan, despite claims from his spokesman that there is full support for the plan.

Serge Vohor made the deal two weeks ago, but the Council of Ministers rejected it saying it went against the coalition agreement.

Foreign Minister, Barak Sope, who led the opposition to the plan, has now been relegated to the junior portfolio of Minister for the Comprehennsive Reform Programme.

Meanwhile the Infrastructure and Public Utilities Minister, Willie Jimmy, says recognition for Taiwan is not in Vanuatu's best interests.

He says it could lead to a vote of no confidence in Mr Vohor.

"the then Minister of Foreign Affairs made it clear that the Prime Minister has no choice - either he sacks the current Ministers or he faces a motion of no confidence which is likely to be crunch that is likely to come up for the coalition government."