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Wednesday, July 25, 2007

SIG reiterates desire for RAMSI support for its policies

By Deli Oso, Press Secretary to the PM

Foreign Affairs Minister, Patterson Oti last night reiterated the government’s desire for the compatibility of the Australian-led Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands (RAMSI) work programmes with the Solomon Islands government policies and priorities.

Mr Oti was speaking at the 4th anniversary celebration of RAMSI’s operation in the country at the mission’s military headquarters at the Guadalcanal Beach Resort.

Whilst congratulating the mission for its achievements over the past four years, the Foreign Minister reiterated Honiara’s desire for RAMSI to harmonise its work programmes with the ruling government’s policies and priorities in order to address the underlying issues that necessitated the intervention in 2003.

Mr Oti said it was only through partnership that the RAMSI and its stakeholders would ensure the sustainability of peace and development in Solomon Islands.

The Foreign Affairs Minister also emphasized the importance of maintaining the regional character of RAMSI and on that note expressed satisfaction over the Pacific Islands Forum’s appointment of a permanent representative in Honiara as well as the Solomon Islands government appointment of a special envoy to RAMSI.

Mr Oti described the appointments as a useful approach which the Solomon Islands government had taken to ensure there was trust and cooperation amongst all stakeholders in the Australian-led Pacific Islands forum initiative.

The appointment of the Pacific Islands forum representation in Honiara followed a request by the Solomon Islands government.

The Foreign Affairs Minister also highlighted the importance of capacity building for Solomon Islanders in preparation for the departure of RAMSI.

Mr Oti said capacity building was vital and the Solomon Islands government had continuously emphasized this RAMSI to ensure Solomon Islands could be able to manage its own affairs at the end of the intervention programme.

He said the government believed the only way forward was for all stakeholders of RAMSI to work together through meaningful dialogue on the future of RAMSI’s assistance to ensure a brighter future for Solomon Islands.

The Foreign Affairs Minister paid tribute on behalf of the Solomon Islands government to the RAMSI contributing countries for their ‘significant’ contribution towards the restoration of law and order, improvement of government finances and strengthening of government institutions.

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