10 Mar 2008

Future development partnership with Solomons not a substitute for RAMSI, says Rudd

4:30 pm on 10 March 2008

Australia's prime minister has told leaders in Solomon Islands that the two countries' future Development Partnership is not intended as a substitute for RAMSI.

Kevin Rudd's talks with his Solomons counterpart Derek Sikua in Honiara focussed firstly on the Australian-led Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands.

Mr Rudd also promised 13 million US dollars more aid for rural development, roads and rehabilitation work for areas hit by an 8.1 magnitude earthquake and tsunami in April last year.

He added that his country's future development Partnership with Solomon Islands is planned as an addition to RAMSI over time.

"And we look forward to these Pacific Development Partneships as providing a mechanism based on mutual respect, mutual co-operation and mutual responsibility to obtain the core development goals which we between us have set for the people of this beautiful country."

Kevin Rudd has thanked Solomon Islands as well as Papua New Guinea for supporting Australia's bid to host next year's Pacific Islands Forum leaders meeting.