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Peters restates NZ commitment to Solomon Islands

Rt Hon Winston Peters
Minister of Foreign Affairs

22 May 2006
Media Release

Peters restates NZ commitment to Solomon Islands

Solomon Islands continues to face considerable challenges but has great potential, says Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters.

Mr Peters visited Solomon Islands from 19-22 May. He and his Australian counterpart, Alexander Downer, held joint discussions in Honiara with the new Prime Minister, Hon Manasseh Sogavare, and members of his government. Mr Peters also visited Malaita and Western Province.

“Recent events following the general election have shown the continued need for RAMSI’s presence, which is widely supported by the Solomon Islands people. I met a wide range of people who are committed to improving the standards of living for ordinary Solomon Islanders and who also recognised that good governance is essential to achieving that," said Mr Peters.

RAMSI is the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands and was invited into Solomon Islands by the government. Led by Australia and comprising New Zealand and other members of the Pacific Islands Forum, RAMSI was asked to help restore law and order and establish good governance following the instability and conflicts of 1999-2003.

“Mr Downer and I have commenced a dialogue with the new government about how to ensure that the outcomes for which RAMSI was established are achieved.

"New Zealand and Solomon Islands connections go back around 150 years. At $18 million a year, our aid programme is our largest bilateral programme. The biggest element is helping to rebuild the primary education system. Other areas of focus are law and justice and economic development.

"I visited schools, court and prison and talked with community leaders about how New Zealand aid is making a difference and I have assured them of our on-going support,” concluded Mr Peters.


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