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Sunday, May 07, 2006

Solomons PM urges RAMSI exit strategy

The new Solomon Islands Prime Minister says there needs to be a clear exit strategy for the Australian-led Regional Assistance Mission (RAMSI) in the country.

Hundreds of Australian police and soldiers are serving with the mission after extra personnel were sent to the Solomons to help restore peace in the wake of violent riots last month.

Australians are also working within the Solomons's Finance Department.

Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare has told ABC TV's Insiders program that RAMSI is welcome in the country as long as there is a clear plan for transferring responsibility to Solomon Islanders.

"We feel that there now has to be some serious exit strategy," he said.

"People should be actively trained to take over the jobs and that is not really apparent and that is the concern of the... politicians and political government."
Cabinet selection

He has also defended his decision to select two MPs accused of involvement in the country's recent riots as Cabinet ministers.

Australian Foreign Affairs Minister Alexander Downer has condemned the appointments of Charles Dausebea and Nelson Ne, who are in custody on criminal charges.

Mr Sogavare says the charges against the MPs may not stand up and they can be part of the Cabinet unless they are convicted.

"At this point of time, those charges are yet to be proven in court and we have evidence that some of this evidence is really questionable," he said.

He says he is happy to explain that to Mr Downer.

News source: ABC News Online (


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