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Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Solomon Islands opposition leader calls for RAMSI exit plan

The Leader of the Parliamentary Opposition, Manasseh Sogavare has called on the Government and the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands to draw up an exit plan for the Australian-led mission.

Mr Sogavare makes the call following Prime Minister Dr Derek Sikua’s statements on the Australian Broadcasting Corporation that he would like to see RAMSI continue its operation in Solomon Islands for the next ten years.

The Leader of Opposition says the exit plan should be based on an independent assessment on what RAMSI has done and still needs to do and whether it is preparing Solomon Islanders to take on the role it plays after its departure.

He says it would be irresponsible of the Government to keep RAMSI in the country unnecessarily just to please Australia and its national strategic interests.

Mr Sogavare says the Australian government's policy of empowering the Pacific Islands forum leaders to decide whether RAMSI should withdraw or set up a permanent military and police presence in Solomon Islands after completing the task it was requested to do is in the best interest of Australia.

He says the policy undermines the sovereignty of Solomon Islands.

Mr Sogavare says in order for the government to make an informed decision on the future of RAMSI, it needed to understand the broader military agenda of Australia and its allies in the world.

Source: SIBC

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