10 May 2005

Forum Eminent Persons Group set to arrive in Solomons for assistance mission review

9:24 am on 10 May 2005

An Eminent Persons Group of the Pacific Islands Forum is due in Honiara today to review the work of the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands.

The news agency, Australian Associated Press, reports the group is led by the Fiji Foreign Minister Kaliopate Tavola, and has been invited by the Solomons government to conduct a week-long review.

It will assess the impact of the assistance mission since it arrived in 2003, and it will make recommendations on how the Forum can help.

The RAMSI Special Coordinator James Batley hopes the group will meet a broad cross-section of Solomon Islanders.

Mr Batley says if the visitors do this, they'll be able to see with their own eyes, the progress that he says Solomon Islanders have made, in rebuilding their nation since RAMSI's arrival.

The Eminent Persons Group also includes Pacific Forum Secretary-General Greg Urwin, forum deputy secretary Peter Forau, the Ombudsman of Samoa, Iulai Toma and two other staff from the forum secretariat.

It will report directly to the forum chairperson who will forward the report to the Solomons government.