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Friday, May 05, 2006

Sogavare says RAMSI will stay indefinitely

Solomon Islands newly elected Prime Minister Honourable Manasseh Sogavare MP says his government shares the same feeling with the majority of Solomon Islanders who prefer RAMSI to remain as long as they like.

Addressing his first media conference immediately after his victory this morning Prime Minister Sogavare told reporters that RAMSI is doing a lot of good things for the country and there is no reason for the mission’s immediate exit.

“RAMSI is governed by an act of parliament.

“It is parliament that approved the coming of RAMSI here in Solomon Islands.

“I think the general feelings of the people of Solomon Islands is RAMSI is doing a good job in Solomon Islands in restoring law and order, restoring the delivery of essential service, institutional strengthening and these are good things,” Hon. Sogavare said.

He said only people with selfish interests will dislike RAMSI here in the country.

“Any body in his right mind will support it.

“Even the joint coalition we have no problem with that,” he said.

The Prime Minister said there are still a lot of misconceptions among many people about what certain people say about RAMSI.

“There is a sort of misconception of parties which simply make things here and there.

“Things are made out of heated parliamentary debates and people seem to misrepresent what certain politicians have said about RAMSI,” Hon Sogavare said.

But he said his government also has some views about the future of RAMSI here in the country.

“It is not to say that the group does not have some strong position on the future of RAMSI.

“People are afraid of the view but the view of RAMSI is provided under an Act of parliament.

“The act specifically requires parliament to review the position of RAMSI in Solomon Islands every 12 months,” he said.

Hon. Sogavare also pointed out that one of his government’s immediate priorities is to link government policies with RAMSI to dig up the root causes of the recent ethnic crisis.

He said failure to address the root causes of the crisis would be another repeated mistake that will explore into another crisis.

“Our feeling generally shared by the people of Solomon Islands is if we are to sustain the good work that RAMSI is doing in this country then the underlying issues that caused this country to collapse in 2000 must be seriously addressed. Otherwise if we do not do that we will see another uprising in five years time.

“RAMSI is not here to stay and they made that very clear to us that they are coming here to assist us and now it’s up to the government to come up with strategies and policies that will sustain the good works that RAMSI is doing.

“Generally they can stay as long us they like - as long us we jointly address the underlying issues that caused this country to collapse,” Hon. Sogavare said.

Prime Minister Sogavare won by 28 parliamentary votes against his rival Fed Fono MP with 22 votes in the 50 member parliament.

Sogavare’s Prime Ministership has been welcome by a sizeable crowd chanting the national anthem outside parliament yesterday morning.

News Source: George Herming (Government Communications Unit)


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