9 Mar 2007

Call for meetings to go ahead in Vanuatu despite emergency decree

5:02 pm on 9 March 2007

Vanuatu's Internal Affairs Minister says important meetings scheduled to take place next week in Port Vila should go ahead despite State of Emergency provisions banning public meetings.

The two-week state of emergency in Vila was declared after weekend tribal violence on the edge of the capital which left three dead.

Port Vila is due to host a number of significant regional meetings next week including the Forum Foreign Ministers gathering to hear recommendations on the "Eminent Persons Group" report into last year's coup in Fiji.

Furthermore, Comprehensive Reform Programme and Provincial conferences are due to take place in the coming days.

Also, Vanuatu's National Council of Chiefs plans to meet next Friday to discuss how to prevent tribal violence.

The minister George Wells says that despite the State of Emergency provision, these meetings should go ahead.

"There is some provision that there is a form of application to request such a meeting, and that is to be approved by the Police Commissioner and myself. The other meetings should be taken also. So there's no problem."

George Wells