CHINA / National

Solomons opposition party apologizes to Chinese evacuees
Updated: 2006-04-26 22:24

A spokesman for the Opposition Party of Solomon Islands, Gordon Darcy Lilo, said Wednesday his party has written a letter of apology to Chinese Solomon Islanders who left island following riots.

According to reports from Radio New Zealand International, Lilo said the letter is "asking them (the Chinese) to come back to the islands."

The protests turned into the most serious rioting and looting on April 18, seen in the country since 2003 when Australia, New Zealand and other Pacific governments intervened to help end years of bloody conflict between ethnic gangs.

The Chinese were among the biggest victims of the riots. Chinatown was nearly leveled following looting and arson.

Hundreds of Chinese left the country with the help of the Chinese Embassies in the region.

Lilo also said the previous government failed to deliver, and people deserved a change in leadership.

He said this after the resignation Wednesday of Rini as Prime Minister of the state, after just a week in office.

Solomon islands could have a new Prime Minister as early as Monday, said Radio New Zealand International.

It said Rini's resignation has been greeted with public jubilation in the capital Honiara.

Protesters and opposition MPs accused him of corrupt links to prominent local business leaders and of accepting cash from Taiwan.

The MPs will now hold another secret ballot to replace Rini.

Rini will remain caretaker Prime Minister until MPs hold a fresh election.


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