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Chan slams Wikileaks report, vows to seek legal action

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Laurie Chan
FORMER Foreign Affairs Minister Laurie Chan has hit back at claims he was a spy for Australia and US in the Solomon Islands.

Mr Chan said there was nothing fishy about the Wikileaks revelations of US and Australia intelligence in the country.

He said he had no idea about the Wikileaks documents which was obtained by the Solomon Star which had pin-pointed him as a reliable source for Australia and US.

“Everyone is aware and wary of the spooks, they may like you and they may spike you,” Mr Chan said.

Among this was a classified US Cable sent on April 13, 2006, titled ‘Solomons/Guatemala/China’ which disclosed confidential conversations between Mr Chan and Robert Fitts, the Port Moresby based US Ambassador to Solomon Islands.

According to the Cable, Mr Chan pledged to support Guatemala’s quest to be a member of the UN Security Council’s non-permanent seat.

The Cable revealed Mr Chan also expressed concern of a pro-China government assuming office given the election of the country’s Prime Minister in 2006.

The conversation took place five days before the June 18 election of Snyder Rini as Prime Minister which sparked the April Riots.

“Geo-politically, we always favoured the Western Alliance and our policy was always directed that way to strengthen and renew relationships,” Mr Chan was quoted as saying.

“Me and Robert Fitts were more professionals than this, we were talking about how we can achieve meaningful things for our two countries given our professional capacities at that time; thus foreign ministers engage rather than isolate countries. The main feature of the conversation was mainly configuring what the new government would look like most of these being public knowledge.”

Mr Chan said at that time RAMSI represented a good opportunity for national re-building which also meant understanding parallels between strong Australia-US relations with Solomon Islands.

Generally, he said this was to connect the country’s domestic with the bigger picture to maintain consistency in foreign policy.

He explained that any support for Guatemala would have had the blessing of Cabinet which he had no unilateral decision in what transpired then.

“Looking at the contents of the Wikileaks, there were notable contradictions to what was said and the sad events that culminated after Rini’s election; I would have definitely been the most unreliable in intelligence eyes.”

Mr Chan said all the allegations levelled against him were ridiculous and he vowed to seek legal redress against those responsible.

“Next time, they will probably say I will be riding chariots like an Egyptian pharaoh.”

Meanwhile, the Honorary Consulate-General of Solomon Islands to Indonesia Prince Dr Pierre-Etienne Vaernewyck congratulated Mr Chan on his recent appointment as Solomon Islands ambassador to Taiwan.

“His Excellency Chan brings a wealth of experience and a tract record of leadership to this new assignment and will ensure that Solomon Islands continue to make an important contribution at the international level through Chan’s outstanding dedication,” Dr Pierre said in a letter to Chan cited by the Solomon Star.

Dr Pierre said they have confidence in Chan as this would be an opportunity to express valuable diplomatic experiences over international issues.