Solomon Islands: PM Manasseh Sogavare defies pressure to resign after unrest

WION Web Team
Sydney, Australia Published: Nov 28, 2021, 04:16 PM(IST)

In this file photo, Solomon Islands Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare can be seen during a meeting Photograph:( Reuters )

Story highlights

Sogavare blamed outside interference for stirring up the protests calling for his resignation, with a thinly veiled reference to Taiwan and the United States

Solomon Islands' Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare has refused to resign after rioting rocked the country.

Sogavare said, "It is very clear that the recent events were well planned and orchestrated to remove me as the prime minister for unsubstantiated reasons."

"I want to show the nation that the government is fully intent and nothing will move us. We must and will never bow down to the evil intention of a few people," he added.

Sogavare blamed outside interference for stirring up the protests calling for his resignation, with a thinly veiled reference to Taiwan and the United States.

Taiwan Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Joanne Ou said in a statement: “We have nothing to do with the unrest”.

Also read | Solomon islands riots: What’s behind the protests?

Many of the protesters come from the most populous province of Malaita, where there is resentment toward the government and opposition to its 2019 decision to end diplomatic ties with Taiwan and establish formal links with China.

China and Taiwan have been rivals in the South Pacific for decades with some island nations switching allegiances.

China views Taiwan as a wayward province with no right to state-to-state ties, which the government in Taipei hotly disputes. Only 15 countries maintain formal diplomatic ties with Taiwan. 

Also read | Taiwan leader meets Solomons envoy to shore up ties over China

"We must and will never bow down to the evil intention of a few people. We must stand up to intimidation, bullying and violence. We owe this to our children and the majority of our people who cannot defend themselves," the Solomon Islands leader said.

"Rest assured that they (instigators) will face the full brunt of the law and arrests are already  being made as investigations continue, with more arrests to follow," he added.

Critics have blamed the unrest on complaints of a lack of government services and accountability, corruption and Chinese businesses giving jobs to foreigners instead of locals. 

(With inputs from agencies)
 

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