Australian Prime Minister congratulates all RAMSI members
Speaking during a brief visit to the mission’s headquarters in Solomon Islands, Mr Rudd said it was the individual efforts of every member of the mission whether they were from Australia, New Zealand or around the region in partnership with the people of Solomon Islands that really made the difference.
“We as politicians and diplomats can agree on a course of action, we can even sign documents but unless you…come into the field and actually do the job, then the brave pronouncements of Prime Ministers end up meaning nothing."
Describing RAMSI as a great example of regional cooperation, Mr Rudd said he wanted to personally thank all those Pacific Islanders who had contributed to RAMSI.
“To our friends from the Pacific Island Forum (countries) can I say this is a wonderful example of cooperation across our great Pacific region… as an arrangement coordinated through the Pacific Islands Forum.”
“As members of the Pacific Islands Forum community of nations, where ever you come from across our region through your participation in RAMSI here, I would like to express my personal appreciation and that of my government, for your work in the field.”
Mr Rudd also made particular reference to New Zealand as a key partner in RAMSI.
“It’s really important for us to be working with the Kiwis around the region and around the world.”
To his own countrymen and women, Mr Rudd said that he understood their mission had been "difficult, challenging work”.
“When we look back at how difficult circumstances were not so many years ago and look at the measures of progress and achievement this is a tribute to your combined professionalism and I thank you for that.”
Mr Rudd said RAMSI would remain in Solomon Islands for as long as it was welcome and for as long as it had a job to do.
“(Based on) my discussions with the Prime Minister of the Solomon Islands, its quite plain to me that we are welcome and that RAMSI is welcome and it continues to do a good job and that will remain the case into the future.”
The countries that make up the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands are Australia, Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Nauru, New Zealand, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu.