Wong got it so wrong, says Sogavare

SOLOMON Islands Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare has criticised the Australian Foreign Ministry over its offer to subsidise the Pacific nation’s elections as “an assault on our parliamentary democracy”.
Wong got it so wrong, says Sogavare Wong got it so wrong, says Sogavare Wong got it so wrong, says Sogavare Wong got it so wrong, says Sogavare Wong got it so wrong, says Sogavare

Penny Wong

Staff Reporter

Sogavare, who is seeking to delay next year's scheduled elections by seven months, said Australia's offer of financial assistance constituted "direct interference by a foreign government in our domestic affairs".
Foreign Minister Penny Wong last week said the government had formally offered to help fund Solomon Islands' elections, saying Australia has a longstanding commitment to promoting democracy throughout the Pacific.
In an unusually strident criticism of the government, the official opposition's Simon Birmingham accused Wong of grossly mishandling the issue by going public about the offer before receiving a reply from the Sogavare government, The Sydney Morning Herald reported.
Birmingham said the government was right to offer financial assistance but "the execution of that offer appears to have been woefully undertaken".
"The Solomon Islands are clearly aggrieved at the fact that this was made public, in the way it was made public, when it was made public," he told reporters.
"And that's why there are answers to be had from the federal [Labor] government about whether they informed the Solomon Islands in advance that they would be making the offer public in this way and, if not, why not?"
Sogavare's criticism follows his signing earlier this year of a security pact with China and a recent decision to temporarily ban naval vessels from countries such as the United States from docking in the country.



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