Further interventions in failed states possible

The Prime Minister, John Howard, has signalled more intervention in failing regional nations in a speech on foreign policy.

In a speech to the Sydney Institute, Mr Howard says the planned intervention in Solomon Islands represents a very significant change in the way Australia addresses its regional responsiblities and relationships.

Mr Howard beleives a failed state in the region will jeopardise Australia's security and the best thing to do is take remedial action.

He says the Solomons intervention will benefit both the people of Solomon Islands and Australia.

"They know that if their state fails the road back to normalcy will be harder, and more costly, not just financially, but on the lives and well being of their people. We know that a failed state in our region, on our doorstep will joepardise our own security. The best thing we can do is to take remedial action and take it now."

The Prime Minister also foreshadowed intervening in other failing states, saying a number of Pacific nations are experiencing economic collapse, corruption and lawlessness to a degree which threatens their very sovereignty.

Mr Howard thinks Australia's friends and neighbours in the Pacific are looking for leadership and he's promised not to fail them adding it's an area where Australia has particular responsiblities.

He says in future Australian aid to Pacific countries will be conditional on them providing stability and goood governance.

"We must use our aid program to encourage and strengthen the framework for good governance in the nations of the Pacific, but they must, and this is fundamental to their hopes of future survival achieve higher standards of governance. Unless they do then not only will the future of aid be in doubt, but the future of their people will be adversely affected."

Later when asked about the possibility of intervention in Papua New Guinea, Mr Howard said Australia had not been invited to assist the country with its law and order problems.

Source SBS

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