Solomon Islands Opposition says Government’s regional tour a disgrace

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Solomon Islands Opposition Leader Matthew Wale says the foreign minister’s visit to Suva on an ‘explain tour’ of the China security treaty is a disgrace.

Wale said the intention and purpose of the tour to explain the pros and cons of the security agreement has contradicted their argument that the matter is a sovereign issue and regional friends should not be involved in the debate.

He said if that is the case, then why is the government now on a mission to explain the treaty to our regional friends.

“In fact, this should be the process that should be done even before the security treaty was signed. And not only to our regional friends but also to our very own people. If the government’s argument is based on sovereignty, then they should also visit our nine provinces to explain the security treaty before going abroad,” he said.

The Opposition Leader said he wouldn’t be surprised if the government’s regional ‘explain tour’ hit’s a brick wall.

“We wouldn’t be surprised if regional countries turned them back and this would be very shameful especially when Fiji as the chair of PIF has recommended to the government to hold off the signing until thorough discussions are done with our regional friends,” he said.

Wale said the foreign minister’s mission to Suva has proven that the Government is well aware that this issue is not a sovereign one and has regional implications.

“It is a shameful thing when we are trying to make amends with our friends to save face. The explain tour is laughable and a mockery to themselves and the security treaty itself,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Opposition Leader has called on the Prime Minister to publish the signed agreement as promised in Parliament.

“What is the rationale of trying to explain a secret agreement to our regional friends when even citizens of this country are still kept in the dark about it?

“The secrecy has cast a lot of doubt not only in the minds of our regional friends but also our very own people,” Wale said.

He said a regional ‘explain tour’ would do nothing to remove that doubt, if the agreement is not published in full.

SOURCE: SOLOMON TIMES ONLINE/PACNEWS