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Thursday, October 18, 2007

Pacific Islands Forum leaders endorse work of RAMSI despite boycott from Solomon government

Pacific Islands Forum leaders have endorsed the work of the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands (RAMSI) as an outstanding example of regionalism.

This comes despite the Solomons Government boycotting this week’s summit in Tonga because it is upset with a review of the mission agreed to at last year’s Forum.

The leaders have endorsed the review saying it would create a more effective RAMSI mission.

The chairman of the Forum, Tonga’s Prime Minister, Dr Feleti Sevele, says he has a commitment that the Solomons will not make changes to the Facilitation Act, which authorises RAMSI’s presence, without consulting the Forum.

“They have given the undertaking to me - a letter from the Prime Minister of the Solomons’ - an undertaking that before any amendments are made to the FIA act [Facilitation of International Assistance Act] and the rest of the legal framework under which RAMSI operates, they will be consulting all the stakeholders.”

It is also understood the Pacific Islands leaders have decided to put in place a process to heal a rift with Solomon Islands Government over the Regional Assistance Mission.

The Forum chairman, Dr Feleti Sevele, says he believes the Solomon Islands boycott of the summit is the result of a misunderstanding or a lack of trust over a review of RAMSI. A Forum Ministerial Standing Committee is to work with the Solomons’ Government to clarify issues surrounding the review, which the leaders believe would make for a more effective mission.

Source: RNZI

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