By Patrick O’Connor in Australia:
Solomon Islands’ foreign minister condemns Australian occupation at UN General Assembly
11 October 2007
The protracted conflict between the Solomon Islands and Australian governments escalated earlier this month when the Pacific country’s foreign minister Patteson Oti denounced Australia’s “occupation” before the UN General Assembly. Oti’s strident speech marked a significant ramping up of the increasingly hostile exchanges between the two countries.
Tensions have been building for more than a year, as the Australian government of Prime Minister John Howard has attempted to destabilise and overthrow the Solomons’ administration led by Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare.
Oti’s characterisation of Australia’s presence in the Solomons as an occupation force is entirely accurate. In 2003, more than 2,000 soldiers and police were deployed under the banner of the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands (RAMSI). Scores of Australian bureaucrats, legal officials, and other personnel effectively took control of the country’s state apparatus, including its police, prisons, judicial system, public service, and finance department.
The neo-colonial operation is of indefinite duration and the Howard government has made clear that it will brook no interference from the Solomon Islands’ government. Responding to Oti’s speech, Australian foreign minister Alexander Downer accused the Sogavare government of trying to destroy RAMSI. The media has effectively buried the story, while the Labor Party and the Greens have kept their mouths tightly shut.
This silence—after a senior representative of a neighbouring government has issued an extraordinary denunciation of Australia’s intervention into the region before a major forum of world leaders—provides a revealing demonstration of the support extended to the Howard government’s Solomons operation by the entire political and media establishment.
A search on the Australian Greens’ site with the word “Solomon” did not match any documents there.
Update 12 December 2007: here.
15 December 2007: here.
31 December 2007: here.
The Wikipedia article on the Solomon Islands has a pro Australian Howard government bias.
Update January 2008: here.
February 2008: New Solomon Islands prime minister kowtows to Canberra: here.
Why have the findings of the Solomon Islands Commission of Inquiry into the 2006 riots not been released? Here.
RAMSI immunity challenged after death of Solomon Islander in car accident:: here.
AUSTRALIA: Activists Slam Neo-Colonialism in the Pacific: here.
See also here.