Solomons mission in for long haul, Downer says
Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare has expressed a desire to rein in some of the mission's control in areas such as finance and has called for an exit strategy.
Mr Downer and his New Zealand counterpart, Winston Peters, have told Mr Sogavare the mission will continue as long as it is able to help the development of the impoverished state.
"I am satisfied, following discussions with my colleague and the Prime Minister, that the Solomon Islands government is not planning to dilute RAMSI's integrity," Mr Downer said.
Mr Peters says he welcomes a review of RAMSI but would be worried if any attempt is made to weaken its stabilising influence.
"If you strip it of its purpose, we cannot justify its presence here," he said.
Long way to go
Mr Downer said before the meeting that RAMSI was not seen as a permanent solution but had a long way to go to complete its objectives.
"Recent unrest underlines the urgent need for Solomon Islands to focus on improving good governance, eliminating corruption, generating economic opportunity for young people and building peace and reconciliation," he said.
RAMSI landed in 2003 to restore stability on the islands following years of unrest.
It was reinforced last month when riots erupted when the unpopular Snyder Rini was elected prime minister.
Mr Rini resigned eight days later and Mr Sogavare was declared the new Solomon Islands leader following a secret ballot by MPs.
Mr Downer and Mr Peters will also meet Solomons opposition leader Fred Fono and representatives of Solomon Islands civil society while in Honiara.
News source: ABC Online