Australia 'Ready to Help Solomons'
The Australian Government has said it is ready to take part in a multi-national force to help restore law and order in the violence-wracked Solomon Islands. Prime Minister John Howard said on Wednesday that he was “strongly disposed” to meet a request for assistance from his Solomons counterpart, Allan Kemakeza, as increasing ethnic violence continued to threaten the archipelago. But Mr Howard added that no final decisions had been taken. “The assistance that is being contemplated includes substantial policing, law and justice and economic assistance, backed up by significant operational support from the Australian Defence Force,” Mr Howard told parliament. But he said that help would only be offered after a formal request from the Solomon Islands Government, and co-operation with New Zealand and other Pacific island nations. Full Story