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Fiji and Solomon Islands – working together

MEDIA RELEASE Friday 6 October 2006

Fiji and Solomon Islands – working together

RAMSI Assistant Special Coordinator Mataiasi Lomaloma today said Fiji was proud to be working alongside Solomon Islanders to help rebuild their country, extending a long tradition of friendship.

Mr Lomaloma said the people and government of Fiji recognised their strong ties with Solomon Islands and were pleased to be able to contribute police, civilians and military to RAMSI from the beginning.

“On 10 October, my country Fiji celebrates 36 years of independence. Marking these occasions and noting our development as a nation is important,” Mr Lomaloma said.

“We have a duty to contribute to the region and to be a good neighbour. We believe in RAMSI and we believe that Fiji’s continuing contribution is important.

“Fijians want to see Solomon Islanders make their country strong again. This is important to our security and to regional security. Solomon Islanders can rebuild this nation so that they can again take their rightful place amongst other nations in the region and the world at large.”

Mr Lomaloma, who is also the Director of RAMSI’s new Community Outreach Program, said that he had been heartened by the response of the general public to RAMSI’s Outreach Stall at the recent Trade and Cultural Show in Honiara.

“We had great feedback from ordinary Solomon Islands who clearly appreciate the work RAMSI is doing here and want us to stay.”

Marking Fiji’s independence anniversary, RAMSI Special Coordinator James Batley thanked Fiji for its contribution to the mission and noted the strength and endurance of the relationship between Fiji and Solomon Islands.

“We are privileged to have Mataiasi Lomaloma, an experienced civil servant and peacekeeper, as well as other highly qualified civilians, police and military,” Mr Batley said.

Currently eight Fijian police are working as part of the Participating Police Force (PPF) alongside the Solomon Islands Police Force. The Fijian Police Force Quick Response Force were deployed to Honiara in April to help restore law and order after the civil unrest. A platoon of 35 soldiers from the Republic of Fiji Military Force (RFMF) recently departed and the RFMF will supply another platoon in February next year.

Ends

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