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Ministers Agree On New Reporting Formula For RAMSI

Forum Ministers Agree On New Reporting Formula For RAMSI

The Forum Foreign Ministers Standing Committee (FFMSC) on the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands (RAMSI) has agreed to a call for the mission to report directly to the Solomon Islands government before reporting to the Pacific Islands Forum.

Solomon Islands Prime Minister Dr Derek Sikua on Friday said he wanted RAMSI to report first to the Solomon Islands Government before submitting any report to the regional body.

He said this change of procedure is crucial to avoid perceptions that the mission is running a parallel government in Solomon Islands.

In addition Dr Sikua said Solomon Islands is the main stakeholder in RAMSI and that the intervention should reinforce the sovereignty of the country as noted in the 2004 Auckland Declaration.

Last Friday, Forum Foreign Ministers from five pacific nations including Australia, Papua New Guinea, Tonga, Niue and Solomon Islands held talks aimed at further strengthening and improving the partnership between Solomon Islands and the mission.

The Ministers fully supported Dr Sikua's call for RAMSI to formulate a new approach to its reporting procedure.

Australia's new Foreign Minister, Stephen Smith said RAMSI only exist following the request and support of the Solomon Islands government and it makes sense for the mission to report directly to the Solomon's Government.

"That is the basis of which our good partnership can precede," he said. "We all agree".

"That was a sensible and an appropriate thing to do, particularly in the new spirit and the new attitude of looking to the future with a new partnership with a better approach".

Dr Sikua said the formation of the Standing Committee on RAMSI is appropriate to provide an avenue for dialogue on the governance and future direction of RAMSI, with a view to improving regional partnership.

Meanwhile, Dr Sikua said the Government and people of Solomon Islands acknowledge and appreciate the achievements and contributions RAMSI made so far but there is still a strong sense that the mission can do more.

"RAMSI needs to realign its activities and functions to support the Solomon Islands Government's development polices and priorities, in particular our rural development policies and strategies," Dr Sikua said.

In responses, the Ministers agreed that RAMSI should continue to support rural development, and consider areas where assistance can be enhanced while encouraging bilateral and international partners to continue cooperating with RAMSI to find additional ways to support the Solomon Islands Government meet its policy objectives in development.

The Ministers also noted that there is sufficient scope under the existing three pillars for RAMSI, in consultation with the Solomon Islands Government, to explore additional ways in which the Solomon Islands Government Policy and Translation Framework can be supported.

ENDS

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