The Guardian February 12, 2003


From the Pacific

The Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea, Sir Michael Somare, called on 
the Australian Prime Minister to consider the well-being of all Pacific 
Island peoples before supporting a war against Iraq. Sir Michael Somare 
said, "While we condemn all forms of terrorism we do not accept the choice 
made by Australia to support the option of a war. A war for many Pacific 
Island countries means that we may be used as strategic points if the 
possibility of engagement does arrive".

Sir Michael said that history shows that larger nations have often fought 
their wars on foreign soil away from their home countries.

"Many Pacific Island countries including Papua New Guinea do not have the 
means to monitor activities on our shores and carry out surveillance in our 
waters. This leaves our country and our people exposed to exploitation if 
Australia persists in its support of a war", he said.

Sir Michael said that it was not the first time that the people from the 
Pacific Island countries face the possibility of being roped into a war 
that may be costly and serves only the interest of the few larger 
countries.

"We were roped into the First and Second World Wars. Today we are an 
independent nation that desires peace in the Pacific.

"We are also the closest neighbour to Australia but like New Zealand would 
prefer non-violent alternatives that would maintain peace in the Pacific 
region."

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