25 Feb 2008

RAMSI to report directly to Solomons government

2:55 pm on 25 February 2008

The Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands, or RAMSI, will now report directly to the local government.

This is one of the key decisions made in Honiara at the inaugural meeting of the Pacific Islands Forum Ministerial Standing Committee on RAMSI, which oversees the Australian-led mission.

The Committee comprises Foreign Ministers of past, present and future Forum chair countries - Papua New Guinea, Tonga and Niue - as well as Foreign Ministers of Solomon Islands and Australia.

Australia's Parliamentary Secretary for Pacific Affairs, Duncan Kerr, who was present at the meeting, says it provided a strong endorsement of the new Solomons government's commitment to RAMSI.

He says they have agreed that RAMSI will now report directly to and take into account the priorities of the Solomons government.

"That will see a shift in some of the priorities of RAMSI as we consolidate law and order, but we move now to nation-building priorities, making certain that the benefits of RAMSI flow down to the people in whose interests the intervention has occurred."

Duncan Kerr