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Archbishop Praises Call for Forgiveness from Island Premier

Thursday 22nd July 2004

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, has described as 'an act of great courage' a plea for forgiveness made by a leading politician in the Solomon Islands, in the wake of serious ethnic violence.

The premier of Malaita Province, the Honourable Reuben Moli, was speaking at a feast on the island of Auki in honour of Dr Williams—who is on an eight-day visit to the Church of the Province of Melanesia. He acknowledged the failings of his people during recent troubles in the Solomon Islands and also the need for forgiveness. Dr Williams blessed the premier and saluted the capacity to say sorry and to forgive. He said:

"We have seen the great act of courage of your premier in expressing that need for forgiveness which is so deep in all of us. In the rebuilding of a nation and in the healing of the whole world, we need people with large hearts; people who are ready to forgive and be forgiven. We pray that nothing in the years ahead will make those hearts become smaller."

Dr Williams' journey has taken him to some of the most far-flung dioceses of the Anglican Communion and has involved varied means of transport, including light aircraft and canoe.

While on Auki, Dr Williams preached at a service on a football field attended by nearly two thousand people and addressed local clergy. Later, he arrived by canoe at Jejevo in the diocese of Ysabel, where he took part in civic ceremonies and watched traditional performances.

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