5 Feb 2009

Solomons opposition wants RAMSI framework talks

3:59 pm on 5 February 2009

The Solomon Islands opposition leader Manasseh Sogavare says he believes there should be no specific timetable for the Regional Assistance Mission, or RAMSI, to withdraw from his country.

This follows comments from the prime Minister Derek Sikua that RAMSI would be needed for at least three more years.

Mr Sogavare has been an ardent critic of foreign involvement in his country but he says RAMSI's presence in the country is not an issue for him.

He is keen to see the ongoing parliamentary review of the Facilitation Act address certain aspects of the legal framework under which RAMSI is operating in the country, such as immunity provisions.

"Why I'm raising this issue is because the framework has never been something that is agreed upon by Solomon Islanders in the very beginning. It was, I guess, forced on us but it's something we accept because of the situation that we were in at the time. But now five years down, we should really be revisiting that."

Manasseh Sogavare