4 Oct 2007

Australia says Solomons public sustains RAMSI

3:02 pm on 4 October 2007

The Australian foreign minister, Alexander Downer, says strong public support is stopping a group of Solomon Islands politicians from destroying the Australian-led Regional Assistance Mission, RAMSI.

The Pacnews agency reports Mr Downer as saying those bent on destroying RAMSI include the Foreign Minister Patteson Oti, the Prime Minister, Manasseh Sogavare, and the fugitive Australian Julian Moti, who is now the Solomons' Attorney-General.

Last week Mr Oti launched a scathing attack on RAMSI at the UN, claiming it was run for Australia's economic benefit and that the mission was an occupying force.

This followed Government rejection of a survey which showed strong public support for RAMSI.

Mr Downer says what stands between RAMSI and its destruction is the very strong public support in the Solomons.

He says if RAMSI were to fail, then the consequences for the ordinary people of the Solomons would be dire and that's why they don't want it to fail.