18 Sep 2007

Solomons government snubs Forum officials tasked with RAMSI review

6:50 pm on 18 September 2007

The Solomon Islands Government has refused to meet officials from the Pacific Islands Forum who have flown to Honiara for talks on the future direction of the Regional Assistance Mission or RAMSI.

A year ago Pacific leaders agreed to a review of the mission, which is run under the Forum's banner.

But as Don Wiseman reports little headway has been made.

"The Solomons Prime Minister, Manasseh Sogavare, extracted the promise of a review after being angered at the treatment by Australia of the country's controversial appointment as attorney general, Julian Moti. Mr Sogavare had threatened to remove the Australian personnel from the Australian dominated mission. The review was a compromise and there have been a series of consultations involving former diplomats and politicians from around the region, but there has been no sign that the relationship between RAMSI and the Government has warmed. This week the prime minister suggested that RAMSI was grossly undermining the country's sovereignty - a claim that came as officials who had flown in for what was billed as a tripartite meeting were forced to cool their heels because the Solomons Government claimed they received notice of the meeting too late. The Government said in a statement they did not have time to prepare their position."