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PM Addresses Foreign Ministers Committee On RAMSI

PM Sikua addresses first Forum Foreign Ministers Committee on RAMSI

The Prime Minister, Dr Derek Sikua this morning addressed the first Forum Foreign Ministers Standing Committee Meeting on the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands (RAMSI) in Honiara.

He said in his address that while Solomon Islands acknowledges and appreciates the achievements RAMSI has made so far, his Coalition for National Unity and Rural Advancement Government believes there is room to do more.

Dr Sikua said in this regard, RAMSI needs to realign its activities and functions to support the development policies and priorities in particular the rural development plans of the current government.

He said it should always be noted that Solomon Islands is the main stakeholder in RAMSI and the perceptions that it is operating a parallel administration with its own programs must be avoided.

But Prime Minister Dr Sikua said the meeting is an opportunity for dialogue on the oversight, governance and the future direction of RAMSI, adding "my government's policy on how we will work with our neighbours in the region including RAMSI is clear and simple".

He said under the policy, Solomon Islands is keen and committed to work with the participating countries through dialogue, consultation and on the basis of mutual respect and understanding.

Dr Sikua said the Government is working very hard to ensure that Solomon Islands becomes a credible partner in the region and beyond and a partner that can be trusted and capable of fulfilling its national, regional and international obligations and commitments.

Meanwhile the Prime Minister understands the meeting will deliberate on a report by the RAMSI Review Task Force.

He said the former Government rejected the report, but the CNURA Government has decided to rescind the rejection, adding it will be setting up a Parliamentary Select Committee to further deliberate on it.

Dr Sikua said the Select Committee's formation will form part and parcel of a resolution passed by the National Parliament last year to undertake a review of RAMSI and the Facilitation International Assistance Act that governs it.

Attending the meeting are Australian Foreign Affairs Minister, Stephen Smith, Tongan Foreign Affairs Minister, Taumoepeau Tupou, Papua New Guinea Foreign Affairs Minister, Samuel Tei Abal and the Premier and Foreign Affairs Minister of Niue, Young Vivian.

Other participants are from the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat, the RAMSI Taskforce Review Team, RAMSI top officials, Foreign Affairs and Trade Minister, William Haomae and senior government officials.

ENDS

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