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Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Media Association of Solomon Islands wants RAMSI to leave in 10 years

The largely Australian Government funded Regional Assistance Mission in the Solomon Islands (RAMSI) should not remain in Solomon Islands beyond 10 years.

The suggestion is a key feature of the Media Association of Solomon Islands, MASI's, submission to the Pacific Islands Forum-appointed two-member task force mandated to conduct a review of RAMSI's operations in Solomon Islands.

MASI has kept its submission to the task force under wraps until now.

But PACNEWS says it has been reliably informed by diplomatic sources in Suva that of all groups consulted by the task force in their recent trip to Honiara, the media body was the only one that offered an exit date for the regional mission.

It says the other submissions, including those from the government of Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare didn't mention a date, only speaking of an exit strategy for RAMSI in “general terms.”

A diplomatic source told the Suva-based news agency that some submissions state RAMSI should leave once stability is restored in the Solomon Islands or when sustainable development is assured.

Sources told PACNEWS all these information were contained in the informal document the RAMSI review task force had circulated to all RAMSI-contributing nations, including Australia and New Zealand.

The non-paper is merely an information paper, briefing stakeholders on the result of their first phase of consultations in Honiara in the beginning of May.

MASI's position on RAMSI was only disclosed yesterday as it prepares to host members of the region's media organisations for the convention of PINA, the Pacific Islands News Association.

Source: SIBC

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