Top Scoops

Book Reviews | Gordon Campbell | Scoop News | Wellington Scoop | Community Scoop | Search

 

Pacific Leaders Announce Review Of RAMSI

Scoop Report: Pacific Leaders Announce Review Of RAMSI

By Selwyn Manning, Nadi, Fiji.

Scoop
Image: PIFScoop Report - Pacific leaders have agreed to set up a taskforce to "expeditiously" review RAMSI and report back to the foreign ministers of Pacific Islands states. The move was one of the suggestions tabled in a five point plan put forward by Solomon Islands Prime Minister, Manasseh Sogavare.

RAMSI is the Regional Assistance Mission to the Solomon Islands and was set up in 2003 to provide security to the people of the Melanesian nation.

Sogavare's five-point-plan called for:

  • Restoration of the regional charter of RAMSI
  • Establishment of a Forum Ministerial team to oversee RAMSI operations
  • An Independent Review of RAMSI
  • Review of RAMSI
  • Clear demarcation between RAMSI and Australia.
  • The Pacific leaders, including those of Fiji, New Zealand, Australia, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, and Vanuatu meet today seeking a solution to a clash between the Melanesian states and Australia.

    The end result was a win this evening for New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark and host, Fiji's Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase. Both politicians were charged with sorting out the stand-off between Australia and the Melanesians.

    Helen Clark said: "There is a very strong sense of Forum ownership. They (Pacific leaders) want it to work, they want it to work well. We discussed the five point proposal that the Solomon Islands government put on the table.

    "What the leaders agreed to was that there should be a review… The leaders have agreed to a new consultative mechanism which cuts the Forum in on high level discussions about the direction of the regional mission, and that means on a quarterly basis there will be consultative meetings between the Solomon Islands government, the regional assistance mission, and representatives of the Pacific Islands Forum's troika."

    The troika refers to the previous Pacific Islands chair, PNG's Sir Michael Somare, the current chair Fiji's Qarase, and the next chair, Tonga's Prime Minister Fred Sevele.

    Helen Clark said all leaders believe it is timely to consider "where to from here" for RAMSI: "What are the benchmarks? Is there an exit strategy? What would constitute success? You need to define where you want to get to to know whether you have reached it."

    She said the Solomon Islands was also keen to discuss "how soon it can begin to increase more rapidly the number of its nationals who are going into the inline positions in the public service… They believe they have the skilled and qualified people and would like to see more of those people come back in."

    While it was a win for Helen Clark and Laisenia Qarase, it was a day of eating humble-pie for Australia's John Howard stating: “We don’t want to bully or push anybody around. People who step back and know how Australia behaves know that’s not true. I mean, it’s almost laughable to suggest that we’re behaving like a bully. “

    Howard said Australia has injected $800 million into the Solomon Islands (including RAMSI contributions and Australian aid) and still regards the Solomon Islands and Papua New Guinea as colleagues.

    Helen Clark said the mood around the Forum table was progressive. She added however there remains a coolness between Sir Michael Somare and John Howard.

    "Obviously there has been a lot of rhetoric, I felt that really the Forum made it clear that it wasn't there to discuss bilateral issues between Forum countries. The Forum was there to look at what was of concern to the region. And everybody respected that so we didn't get in to bilateral argybargy, we got into what is legitimately the business of the Forum," Helen Clark said.


    ENDS

    © Scoop Media

     
     
     
    Top Scoops Headlines

     


    Ian Powell: Are we happy living in Handy's Age of Unreason?

    On 19 June the Sunday Star Times published my column on the relationship between the Labour government’s stewardship of Aotearoa New Zealand’s health system and the outcome of the next general election expected to be around September-October 2023: Is the health system an electoral sword of Damocles for Labour... More>>


    The First Attack On The Independents: Albanese Hobbles The Crossbench
    It did not take long for the new Australian Labor government to flex its muscle foolishly in response to the large crossbench of independents and small party members of Parliament. Despite promising a new age of transparency and accountability after the election of May 21, one of the first notable acts of the Albanese government was to attack the very people who gave voice to that movement. Dangerously, old party rule, however slim, is again found boneheaded and wanting... More>>


    Binoy Kampmark: Predictable Monstrosities: Priti Patel Approves Assange’s Extradition
    The only shock about the UK Home Secretary’s decision regarding Julian Assange was that it did not come sooner. In April, Chief Magistrate Senior District Judge Paul Goldspring expressed the view that he was “duty-bound” to send the case to Priti Patel to decide on whether to extradite the WikiLeaks founder to the United States to face 18 charges, 17 grafted from the US Espionage Act of 1917... More>>


    Dunne Speaks: Roe V. Wade Blindsides National

    Momentum is everything in politics, but it is very fragile. There are times when unexpected actions can produce big shifts and changes in the political landscape. In 2017, for example, the Labour Party appeared headed for another hefty defeat in that year’s election until the abrupt decision of its then leader to step aside just weeks before the election. That decision changed the political landscape and set in train the events which led to Labour being anointed by New Zealand First to form a coalition government just a few weeks later... More>>

    Digitl: Infrastructure Commission wants digital strategy
    Earlier this month Te Waihanga, New Zealand’s infrastructure commission, tabled its first Infrastructure Strategy: Rautaki Hanganga o Aotearoa. Te Waihanga describes its document as a road map for a thriving New Zealand... More>>


    Binoy Kampmark: Leaking For Roe V Wade
    The US Supreme Court Chief Justice was furious. For the first time in history, the raw judicial process of one of the most powerful, and opaque arms of government, had been exposed via media – at least in preliminary form. It resembled, in no negligible way, the publication by WikiLeaks of various drafts of the Trans-Pacific Partnership... More>>